Friday, April 10, 2009.
It's the highlights of any golfer's career: playing in your first Masters. It's even more special when you're an amateur. All five in this year's field didn't make the cut but the experience of playing in the Masters was all they imagined.
"I really enjoyed it," said U.S. Amateur champion Danny Lee. "It was the fastest green I've ever played. And to play with Adam Scott and Trevor Immelman and to have Tiger Woods playing behind me, I really enjoyed that."
"Just a great experience," said U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Steve Wilson. "It's a lot of fun. Everything I thought it would be. Now I get back to the real world."
All of them came in with the goal of making the cut. But at Augusta National, that's easier said than done.
"I mean, it's heartbreaking to only play two days," said U.S. Amateur runner-up Drew Kittleson. "But it's tough. Even out here today with the wind, it wasn't all that bad."
"It was getting pretty windy out there. Pretty windy on the back side," said U.S. Public Links champion Jack Newman. "And you know, I just didn't hit too many good iron shots out there and when I had a chance to make a putt, I didn't."
But with the regrets come lessons. Lessons that can be applied to the next time they play here and their golf game as a whole.
"I gotta sit back and soak it all in," said Kittleson. "I've just been writing stuff down at night so I don't forget it. Something to reflect on and hopefully, get better from it."
"I know what I can do, being in college right now," said Newman. "I've sort of just been really average. Coming out here just proves to me that I can compete with the best when my mind is focused and I'm ready to go so I'm gonna make a promise to myself to get back here as a pro."