AUGUSTA, Ga. – Eight-year-old Owen Lockaby has been to the Masters every year of his life. He’ll never forget this one.
Matt Kuchar thrilled the crowd with an ace at No. 16 and noticed Owen wearing a bright orange shirt and fedora hat when he walked up to the green to retrieve his ball from the cup. He signed the ball and handed it to Owen, who wasn’t able to hear if Kuchar said anything because the fans were still so loud.
“The cool part of our job is making a kid’s day. … I’ve got enough hole-in-one balls,” Kuchar said. “He was sitting in the front row and had the Sam Snead hat on and I said, ‘That’s the kid I’m giving it to.'”
Owen and his parents, Tracy and Jay, were still beaming after the final group walked off the green more than an hour later.
“I think this is my favorite Masters ever,” Owen said.
The Lockabys plan on putting the ball in a nice display box in Owen’s room once they return to their home in Bradenton, Fla.
“His grandad (Joe), started coming to the Masters in the early 1950’s,” Jay said. “He was an original Arnie’s Army member for sure.”
Tracy attended her first Masters in 1998 – the same year Kuchar made his Augusta National debut as the reigning U.S. Amateur champion while he was a sophomore at Georgia Tech.
As for the hat, which suggested a certain maturity for a young man of eight and caught Kuchar’s attention, Tracy bought it for him in the Bahamas.
“I just thought it was so cute,” she said.