Doubles cost McClean who bows out of the Masters with a smile

Ronan MacNamara

Malone's Matthew McClean all smiles at Augusta (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Matthew McClean can take plenty away from his first Masters experience having held the outright lead when the tournament was in its infancy and he closed out in style with a herculean par on 18 for a commendable two-over 74.

It gave the Malone man a seven-over total just before the horn resounded for a second suspension in play, leaving him five shots off the cut.

“It’s great. I thought it would be two or three, so probably going to miss it by four. Could have easily stayed an extra day or two,” said McClean who picked up birdies on 3, 9 and 13.


“It was tough. I was happy with the way I played and battled at the end to make a lottery 4 at the last there, which is a great way to finish.

“It’s a great week. Just relax and get to go out and watch a bit of the golf and enjoy it. The week’s been great.”

Three double bogeys including the par-4 14th in round two ultimately left McClean with too much to do to make the halfway cut but he insists his golf was better than his score suggests.

“I think where I missed it in the wrong place, I knew as soon as I hit it. I think I sort of knew the course as well as I could going into it. I made a couple doubles, three doubles over the two days, and that was pretty much it.

“If I could have turned those three doubles into bogeys and saved one other, then that’s all it was. Overall, pretty happy.”

McClean qualified for the Masters via his US Mid-Amateur victory at Erin Hills last year. US Amateur champion Sam Bennett looks set to cruise to the low amateur gong and perhaps more over the weekend and the 29-year-old lauded the youngster with praise with the duo set to meet again at the US Open Championship.

“I don’t think anyone thought anyone could go anywhere near that. I think if you just make the cut round here, you have a fair chance of winning it. I think if he shoots 4-under, 4-under? Yeah, that’s unbelievable. I don’t know, is he the only amateur making the cut? Possibly.

“Yeah, if he’s playing like that, like he deserves that. I wasn’t getting near 8-under through two rounds.
That’s unbelievable. I’m sure if he plays like that as an amateur, he’ll be back one day as a pro. Fair play to him there.”

McClean will have little time for reflection as he faces a quick turnaround for the European Nations Championship where he will don the green of Ireland once more alongside Peter O’Keeffe, Rob Moran and Joshua Hill in Sotogrande.

“I was just going to relax over the weekend, and then I fly home on Monday. I’ve got a tournament out in Spain for Ireland Sunday after. So just have a few days off, relax, just enjoy the rest of the weekend. Then sort of back to playing golf.

“Obviously not going to be quite as high as this, but it will still be a really good competition against really good players. A couple days off and just back at it really.”

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