Tough 36 holes for amateurs, Cal's Weaver included
AUGUSTA, Ga. Michael Weaver never imagined that his biggest competition for low amateur at the Masters would be 14-year-old Tianlang Guan. Much less that Guan would be the only amateur to make the cut.
“People questioned whether or not the club was doing the right thing inviting a 14-year-old,” Weaver said. “Those people are kind of eating crow a little bit.”
For the Cal junior and the rest of the amateur players, it was a tough 36 holes. Weaver, runner-up at last year’s U.S. Amateur, was disappointed in his play on the par 5s. He bogeyed the eighth hole both days and bogeyed the 13th hole Thursday. Weaver said Cal coach Steve Desimone constantly preaches no bogeys on par 5s.
“If you can’t do it in college, you can’t do it here,” said Weaver, who finished 8 over for the tournament after shooting 78-74. He did birdie the 18th hole, however, to give himself a nice finish on his 22nd birthday.
Florida’s T.J. Vogel, the U.S. Amateur Public Links champ, also shot 8 over while U.S. Mid-Amateur champ Nathan Smith finished 11 over. In four appearances at the Masters, the 34-year-old Smith has yet to make the cut.
The two amateurs with the most prestigious titles – U.S. Amateur champion Steven Fox and British Amateur winner Alan Dunbar – fared the worst this week.
Fox closed with an 81 to finish 13 over, while Dunbar managed to improve six shots on Friday with a 77. He beat only two players in the field.
It was a horrific start for Dunbar on Thursday, bogeying the first hole, triple-bogeying the second and making six straight bogeys on Nos. 3-8. His first par came on the ninth hole. He turned in 46.
“I was hitting good shots to the wrong places,” said Dunbar, a 22-year-old from Northern Ireland who finished 16 over for the tournament.
The Asia-Pacific Amateur champions, incidentally, have made the cut in three of four Masters since the event’s inception.