The Masters: Viktor Hovland's diary, Day 2

Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

The Masters: Viktor Hovland's diary, Day 2

Masters

The Masters: Viktor Hovland's diary, Day 2

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Viktor Hovland, junior at Oklahoma State and the 2018 U.S. Amateur Champion, will blog about his experience at the Masters on Golfweek.com this week.

Here’s his second entry:

I made the cut at the Masters.

It makes me smile to write that. I probably shouldn’t admit to this, but there are leaderboards all around Augusta Nationa and after I made an eagle on the 13th hole Friday, I knew that I had a little bit of a cushion. I felt pretty good and started looking to make a couple of birdies. I didn’t get any, but my finish at one under was still good enough to make the weekend.

After I made that putt, the first thing I told Alan Bratton, my coach at Oklahoma State who is also caddying for me this week, is that I won a little crystal for that. Actually, a pair of crystal glasses. We’ll figure out what to drink out of them when we get back to Stillwater, Okla., on Monday night.

As fun as that was, one of the toughest things about playing here is that you can’t let your mind wander. There are so many spots out here where you just can’t miss, so you’re always on edge. It feels like you can never relax.

It’s hard to describe, because here you are at Augusta National, with thousands of people around and you should be able to hit the ball up on the green and let yourself look around a little bit, but you have to constantly keep grinding. The ball can be 15 feet from the hole for a birdie, but your mind races and you think about not racing the ball by the hole and making a bogey. You’ve always got to be on your toes.

Still, I’m starting to feel like I belong out here. The highlight of my week was playing with Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka in a practice round on Tuesday, but I’m not starstruck around guys like that anymore.

Amateur players like me are welcomed here at Augusta with open arms. I’m the lowest scoring amateur here and will start the final round one shot ahead of Takumi Kanaya, an excellent player from Japan who shot 68 on Saturday.

The list of players who have been the low amateur at the Masters is distinguished. Guys like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Matt Kuchar, Hideki Matsuyama and Patrick Cantley have all won the silver cup. They got to take part in the ceremony in Butler Cabin when the champion is presented with his green jacket. The low amateur also takes part in the ceremony on the putting green too, but you don’t usually see that part on TV.

It’s going to be an early start on Sunday because bad weather is heading our way. Trust me, we players would rather wake up a little earlier on Sunday and finish the tournament on Sunday than stick around to complete it on Monday. Plus, it makes for a better, safer experience for the patrons.

For me, finals back at Oklahoma State are coming soon, and while this has been a fantastic experience, I’ve got class work to do. Leaving this place and heading back to my dorm room won’t be easy, but flying home as the low amateur at the Masters would make it a lot easier.

— Viktor

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