Arguably one of the best stories to come from this year’s Masters is that of American Sam Bennett!
The amateur, playing is his first ever Masters is mixing it with the upper echelons of golf, and amazingly is holding his own pretty well.
After two rounds of 68, Bennett finds himself on solo third place on 8-under par, just four strokes off leader Brooks Koepka and he is loving every minute of his experience.
“Yeah, I love being able to hit shots, and the crowds of people, I used that to my advantage. I felt comfortable out there. Obviously the first tee shot on Thursday was pretty tough, having to wait around all morning. I got off to a dream start and then was able to keep going and gain some ground.
“Yeah, I don’t hit it far like Sargent. I don’t have 190 ball speed. I don’t have a pretty swing like some of the other amateurs. It’s golf, not a golf swing. I’ve done the right things this week. I was prepared. I was more experienced than the other guys, and yeah, here I sit here with a chance to go on the weekend and do something special.”
We already reported on the tattoo that Bennett has on his wrist which reminds him in the handwriting of his deceased father, “Don’t wait to do something”, and the confident Texan, who admits he’s only ever had one golf lesson says he uses the tattoo for motivation and creates his own confidence.
“(I) Create confidence by putting myself in the right situations. The weekend of the U.S. Open, being really nervous at Valero, my first PGA TOUR start, and then not playing well. Same at Bay Hill.
“So everything I’ve done in my golf career, playing in these big tournaments has led me to be able to succeed here this week and leading forward.”
On the bag this week Bennett has his Texas A&M college coach Brian Kortan and the two are understandably having a ball around the lush fairways of Augusta National, particularly given their standing on the leaderboard.
“Yeah, he’s funny. I can talk to him about anything. I mean, literally anything I want. He’s like my second father. So we’re having fun out there. I know he’s pretty tired in that caddie suit. He lets you know, too.
“But yeah, I mean, we’re — I don’t know, he’s done a lot. Without him, I would not be able to be in the situation that I am. Just some of the numbers that he’s given me, some of the club selections, some of the stuff he said to help me calm down, I mean, all credit to him. Just like at the Am, without him, I wouldn’t be sitting right here.”
If the second round standings stay as they are then Bennett will become the first amateur in 65 years to play in a final pairing at The Masters but Bennett will be hard pressed to calm his social media habits ahead of what could be a defining one in his career.
“I’m on social media. I don’t post too much, but the followers keep on coming in. I’ve turned notifications off. A lot of people in my DMs and just all good messages and just hearing the story from my father. There’s been multiple people that have reached out that said that they have helped — I’ve helped them with my story and some other people’s dads got diagnosed or grandparents with Alzheimer’s. Everybody’s been real appreciative but yeah, the notifications stay off.
“Last night was where it peaked. I was laying in bed, scrolling on my phone, and it was like nearly midnight and I couldn’t go to sleep. I was looking at what everybody had to say and replying to some people and I was like, I really need to get some sleep, so I turned them off and put my phone away.”
Given the weather rolling in and the fact he could be playing in the final group, Bennett now might have a long time to wait until he hits another shot. So he was asked how he plans to spend the time?
“I’m just going to hang out with my buddies. You know, just watch golf, watch Live From, and soak it all in and talk about the course, my shots I hit, what to expect.
“It’s already pretty slow and soft out there. I mean, Scottie was saying the greens were significantly slower than they have been in the past. Floridian, I played a college tournament down in Florida last week and they were significantly faster than they are here. It’s a soft golf course. The weather’s getting cold. It’s going to be a challenge no matter what.”
“I think I am prepared. The hard work’s done. I made the cut as an amateur. I kind of made my mark. I played steady golf. Now it’s time for me to go out and enjoy, soak it all in, be able to play the weekend at the Masters. I mean, growing up as a kid, if you would have told me that, I would have said you’re probably crazy.
“To be honest, I don’t think I’ll be too nervous out there come the weekend. I’ll just be out there enjoying it, soaking it in. If I play good, I play good and if I play bad, I go back to my home school and compete in my home tournament Thursday.”
You can’t but root for this guy. He’s young, confident, has hit 92% of fairways for the first two rounds and it would be a fairytale story if it he can get another good round under his belt and make a run at the top spot come Sunday.
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