Only five players went bogey-free in the opening round of the 2023 Masters Tournament.
One of them – Sam Bennett – is a fifth-year senior at Texas A&M University, the reigning U.S. Amateur champion and is making his Masters debut.
But that’s just the beginning of Bennett’s story.
On his left forearm, the 23-year-old Texas native has a unique tattoo. It’s a message in his father’s handwriting, reading “Don’t wait to do something.”
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That note was the last thing his father Mark Bennett, who died in 2021 after an eight-year battle with early-onset Alzheimer’s, ever wrote.
Bennett heeded his father’s advice on Thursday, shooting a 4-under 68 to put himself in a tie for sixth on the leaderboard. He shot a 4-under 32 on the front-nine, tying the Masters record for lowest first-nine by an amateur.
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With 15 pars, two birdies and an eagle, Bennett became the only amateur in the last 30 years to record a bogey-free round at the Masters. No amateur has ever won at Augusta.
After a dazzling first round, Bennett was just as good on Friday. He shot another 4-under 68, putting him in sole possession of second place at 8-under behind Brooks Koepka (12-under) when he finished his round.
Bennett was paired with 2022 Masters champion and world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, along with world No. 5 Max Homa, for the first two rounds. Scheffler was 1-under for the first two rounds, while Homa finished at even-par.
While there’s still plenty of golf to be played, Bennett easily will make projected cut of 2-over and should be in one of the final pairings on Saturday for the third round.