When the week began, there were four amateurs in the field at the 69th Masters, but just one cast a shadow long enough to steal some of the spotlight from the play-for-pay types.
Not since Bobby Jones’ sweep of golf’s four majors in 1930 had an amateur recorded a summer like Ryan Moore’s in 2004 with victories at the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Public Links, NCAA Championship and Western Amateur. But that was only part of the Moore mystique.
What stirred the pre-tournament pot was Moore’s matter-of-fact response to questions about his Masters’ expectations. There was just a single item on his “to-do” list as he headed down Magnolia Lane – win.
“I’ve never been in a tournament in my entire life I didn’t feel like I could win, and I don’t see any reason to start now,” said Moore, a senior at UNLV. “For some people this may be tough but I believe I can.”
After a few wet days at Augusta National, the list of Moore “believers” has grown dramatically. Moore, playing with defending Masters champion Phil Mickelson, opened with steady rounds of 71 despite the rain-delayed, manic nature of the event. After a third-round 75 – which included a four-putt at the par-4 10th hole – Moore rallied with a final-round 70 to tie for 13th at 1-under 287 and earn a return trip in 2006. He was the first amateur to break par since Lindy Miller finished at 2 under in 1978.
“That’s great (his finish), but I didn’t win,” he said.
Moore, who plans on playing the U.S. Open and British Open before turning pro later this summer, was joined on the weekend by Vanderbilt sophomore Luke List, who tied for 33rd at 6-over 294.
List, who along with U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Austin Eaton III and Moore stayed in the Crow’s Nest atop the venerable clubhouse, rallied to make the cut with a second-round 69, one of only nine sub-70 cards in Round 2.
“Previous times I’ve really focused on the cut,” said List, who finished runner-up to Moore at last year’s U.S. Amateur. “This time I didn’t. This time I felt like I was in control.
“I played really well to try and get myself back in red numbers.”
Although most of List’s handiwork was undone by a 4-over 40 to start his third round, he remained upbeat about his first Masters.
“This was an experience of a lifetime,” said List, who had to race back to Vanderbilt for a 9 a.m. Women’s Studies class on Monday. “Each hole I played the more I wanted to get back here.”
Although Eaton’s week ended early with rounds of 81-77, the New Hampshire general contractor said being at Augusta National, where he played practice rounds with Tiger Woods and John Daly, should give him a boost in his quest to make this year’s Walker Cup team.
“Just being here with these guys has given me a feeling of tremendous confidence,” he said.
Stuart Wilson, a reinstated amateur from Scotland, also missed the cut after signing for a pair of 82s.