Sam Bennett had an unbelievable debut at Augusta Nationwide this week because the reigning U.S. Beginner champion confirmed he might go toe-to-toe with the most effective gamers on the planet on the 87th Masters.
The 23-year-old sat in third place after 36 holes — after which confirmed his moxie by battling by means of horrible circumstances Saturday to stay within the hunt.
The Texas A&M senior closed issues out Sunday — ending his third spherical with a 76, after which taking pictures 74 over his remaining 18 to complete at 2-under par, and in a tie for sixteenth with Shane Lowry and Hideki Matsuyama. He was two photographs off a prime 12 end that might have secured an invitation to the 2024 Masters.
Beginner Bennett in rivalry at Masters Beginner Sam Bennett surges to the highest of 2023 Masters leaderboard. ‘I can exit and win’
Theegala punches ticket to 2024 Masters Sahith Theegala has memorable spherical to punch his ticket to 2024 Masters
“I’ll want a while after I get again to decompress and actually look again and revel in it,” Bennett stated. “I have never had youngsters but, in order that stroll up 18 was undoubtedly the good expertise of my life. And the stroll up 12. I did not play how I needed to this weekend, however this expertise taking part in the weekend at Augusta is certainly going to assist me be the golfer I wish to be. And to have the ability to play the Sunday pins was simply unbelievable.”
He was 5 photographs off the novice file of 281 set by Charles R. Coe in 1961, and was a shot of the file for the primary 36 holes of 135 set in 1956 by the late Ken Venturi. He was the primary novice to complete within the Prime 20 since Ryan Moore was tied for thirteenth in 2005.
Bennett was emotional as he left the 18th inexperienced and was greeted by his mom, Stacy, who proudly adopted her youngest of three sons all week.
“It was simply, from rising up as a child watching this event to dropping my dad to the struggles I’ve confronted and nonetheless face to have the ability to stroll up that inexperienced on 18 on a Sunday, Easter Sunday, and simply be appreciative of the whole lot, I believed — I imply, in the event you had advised me I used to be going to be right here after I was a child, I’d have thought you have been loopy,” Bennett stated. “So to have the ability to — it is cool. Taking part in the Masters on Sunday, that is what each golfer goals of. I used to be simply pleased to have the ability to do this.”
Bennett, who’s No 6. within the World Beginner Golf Rating, had his Texas A&M coach, Brian Kortan, on the bag this week — simply as he did when he received the U.S. Beginner at at Ridgewood Nation Membership in New Jersey final August, when he beat Georgia Southern’s Ben Carr to win the title.
He had a powerful contingent of household and pals on the grounds at Augusta Nationwide all week — about 50 in all, after which 1000’s of different Masters patrons who jumped on the bandwagon to assist Bennett — a younger participant with loads of confidence and persona to associate with a compelling again story.
His father, Mark, handed away in 2021 after battling early-onset Alzheimer’s. And Bennett is reminded of him each time he stands over a shot — as he has some inspirational phrases from his dad, “Do not wait to do one thing,” tattooed on his left forearm.
He went out and did one thing particular this week in his first Main look, and discovered so much from the expertise.
“To play within the remaining group on Saturday or Sunday, no matter, it was unbelievable, alongside Rahm and Koepka,” Bennett stated within the morning after ending the third spherical that was halted by inclement climate Saturday. “The patrons have been superior, cheering me on, telling me to hold in there. They actually make me really feel welcomed and comfy out right here.”
He was requested if the fact of taking part in in his first Masters lived as much as his expectations.
“That is query. It is higher than it was on TV for positive. Simply the folks, the property, the hills, the slopes, the scoreboards, I imply, the meals. It was the whole lot I might think about. I actually hope to be again,” Bennett stated. “You possibly can’t beat the stroll up 18. That was good with the gang cheering me down. And strolling up with my coach, who’s helped me out a bunch. After which strolling off the inexperienced to my brother and my mother, that was a very cool second for us.”
Dennis Knight covers sports activities for the Savannah Morning Information. Contact him at Dknight@savannahnow.com. Twitter: @DennisKnightSMN
This text initially appeared on Augusta Chronicle: Sam Bennett’s Masters thrill trip ends one shot in need of prime 12