Texas senior Doug Ghim, the 2017 U.S. Amateur runner-up, will blog about his first Masters experience on Golfweek.com this week. Here is his fifth entry after making the cut at Augusta National:
AUGUSTA, Ga. – Wow. After shooting 4-over 76 Friday I will be playing the weekend at Augusta National. To be at the top of the amateur leaderboard and to make the cut at the Masters, I’m so honored. Even better: Since no other amateurs made the cut, I will also be low amateur come Sunday. What a special accomplishment.
This morning was a quick turnaround. I’m going to be honest; I spent a lot of time just sitting around the house last night watching videos of my hole-out on No. 18. I couldn’t believe it, and the video with Nick Faldo and Jim Nantz commentating in the booth was especially cool.
I had breakfast with my parents in the caddie house near the range. I was eating and watching some Tiger Woods highlights from yesterday on TV. Another TV was showing SportsCenter and I saw that they were showing Top 10 Plays. I stuck around to see if I was in there and sure enough, when it got to No. 2, it panned to my shot on 18, and I was like, ‘Yes!’ I was hoping that I got into the top 10. That was a cool way to start the day.
I felt more relaxed and comfortable after having one round under my belt, and had a really good warm-up session. When I got to the first tee, I was a little nervous, but only for the sole fact that I wanted to do well. But I made some mistakes on that front nine, starting on No. 1 by missing the fairway by a yard and making double bogey.
But I fought back with birdies on Nos. 2 and 3. I just tried to stick it out because I knew that it was going to be one of those nervy days. I did the best that I possibly could to stay positive because there are so many negative things out there to get distracted by, whether it’s the cut line, the leaderboards, the people, the groans from the crowd when your ball is rolling the other way from the hole, and the golf course is difficult. I knew that if I got negative on myself at any point during the round that I was going to play bad, and out here the moment you start thinking negatively, you lose it.
I looked at the forecast before and it didn’t say it was going to be as windy as it ended up being. We got to the 10th tee and I thought to myself, this could be one of two things: Bad for me if I struggled on the back nine, or good if I could somehow tough it out and play well and other guys fall. Luckily for me, it was the latter that happened.
The par putt on No. 11 was huge. I hit a terrible second shot. I was so nervous because the wind was supposed to be coming off my left, but it was coming into or even off my right. If I hit my draw, the wind is just going to grab hold of it and everything slopes down toward the water. So I tried to hold it up against the wind and just fanned it. I hit a good pitch shot, landed it on the upslope and thought that it would kick forward and it checked up just before it got on the green. If I had just gotten it on the green, I knew it would probably roll down to about 10 feet. But it just didn’t get there. I got over the putt, about 45 feet, and I knew how fast it was, so I wanted to hit it about 2 feet onto the green. I hit it and it was motoring. I was whispering, ‘Hit the hole. It’s going to go into the water if it doesn’t hit the hole. Please, hit the hole.’ It went in and the crowd just went nuts. It hit the back of the hole and probably made the hole a little bit bigger. I was just happy to walk away with less than 6. I was really trying to make 5 and I ended up making 4.
And then I hit a really good shot on No. 12 and almost made birdie. Walking around this course for two days and playing Amen Corner in 1 under, I think that’s pretty good.
The big shot of the day for me was that putt on No. 16. I hit a really good shot it just carried a little further than I wanted to. I was just trying to land it in that upslope and it carried all the way to the top of the upslope. I’m fortunate that it didn’t land all the way up top, otherwise it probably would’ve gone in the bunker. But it landed just up top and released to the fairway cut. My ad gave me a great read, I hit out there about halfway, and it started to motor a little, but again it hit dead center. The birdie moved me back to 4 over, and I knew that that was probably the putt that was going to get me into the weekend.
I hit a good drive on No. 18, but somehow it ran through into the bunker. That lip is in your face and I just knew that I needed to hit it solid for it to get all the way up there. I was just trying to make sure that I got it over that lip. The moment that I hit it I thought it was going to be good and ride that upslope and come all the way back down to the hole. When I hit the putt I had to take a line up to the fringe and it came all the way back down. I thought it might have a chance. It was on a good line, kind of similar to where the fall line of Si Woo Kim’s bunker shot was. But it passed by about 5 feet. I gave myself a nice uphill putt and I had the nerve to knock it in. I knew that was probably a big putt.
Now that I’ve made the cut and clinched low amateur, my goals don’t change. I’m out here trying to post the best possible score every day regardless of where the cut or everything is. As long as I play good golf, and golf that I’m satisfied with, it doesn’t matter where I finish on the leaderboard. I am a little bit disappointed with all the mistakes that I’ve made, but that’s what a major championship does to you. I just did best I could to have a good attitude.
Going into tomorrow, I think I can free myself up a little knowing that I’m going to be playing on Sunday and I’m already low amateur. It means a lot to me to be out here all four rounds and have my parents and friends out here watching me play on a Sunday that is coveted by all golfers. Smelling the azaleas walking on Amen Corner on a Sunday and then sitting in Butler Cabin that evening, I don’t know how much better it gets than that.
See you on the weekend!