The Amateur Who Holds 16 Masters Records

Charles Coe amassed a huge number of records across a 22-year span between 1949 and 1971

Charles Coe takes a shot at the 1966 Masters
Charles Coe holds 16 Masters records
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Each year, several amateurs are in the Masters field, each hoping to make their own indelible mark on the tournament. If they're looking for inspiration, they could do a lot worse than an Oklahoman amateur who holds no fewer than 16 Masters records.

Between 1949 and 1971, Charles Coe made 19 starts in The Masters and rewrote the history books along the way. In fact, that number of starts is one of his records. No other amateur has made more, with only Dick Chapman equalling the number between 1939 and 1962.

Coe's most impressive record came his way thanks to a sparkling 1961 performance, and it put him in extremely exalted company. Golf experts will likely be able to recall instantly who won that year - Gary Player, who wore the Green Jacket for his first of three victories in the Major.

However, right behind him was another legend, Arnold Palmer, who was edged out by one shot. Level with Palmer was Coe, who wasn’t even knocked out of his stride after heavy rain washed out Sunday’s play, forcing the final round to be replayed on Monday.

That drew Coe level with Frank Stranahan in 1947 and Ken Venturi in 1956 as the only amateurs to finish runner-up at The Masters. It has not been achieved since.

Gary Player speaks after his 1961 Masters win as Charles Coe listens

Gary Player edged out Charles Coe (right) by one shot in the 1961 Masters

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Coe’s performance that year also helped him to another record - most top-10 finishes in the tournament for an amateur, three, and only matched by Billy Joe Patton. Coe also finished sixth in 1959 and tied for ninth the year after he was runner-up.

While some of Coe’s records are a little more on the obscure side, each would doubtless be cherished by any amateur teeing it up at Augusta National. For example, he holds the record for the lowest third round for an amateur of 67, which he achieved in 1959, and stood alone with for 23 years, until Jodie Mudd equalled it in 1982.

Coe also shares the record for low middle 36 holes - 140. However, this time, he was not the first to achieve the score. His second and third rounds of 71 and 69 in 1961 drew him level with John Dawson, who achieved it 25 years earlier, in 1936.

Then there is the low last 36-hole record of 138. Once again, Coe equalled an existing score in that same 1961 tournament, which drew him level with Stranahan who had held the record since 1947.

What about the low score for last 54 holes and all 72 holes? Well, Coe comes up trumps again thanks to that 1961 performance. His final three rounds that year achieved an amateur record of 209, while he completed his tournament in just 281 shots.

The records just keep on coming. Coe also made the most cuts for an amateur at The Masters (eight) and eagles (six), which included two in his first start in 1949. Not only that, he also played 67 rounds at The Masters, which is more than any other amateur, of which 22 finished with par or better, another record.

Thanks to his 1961 performance, Coe was also the only amateur with four rounds of par of better until Viktor Hovland joined him after he finished tied for 32nd in 2019. Also in 1961, Coe achieved two rounds in the 60s, a feat only matched by Venturi five years earlier.

Meanwhile, helped by those rounds, he stands alone for the amateur with most rounds in the 60s at the Major (four). Finally, Coe was low amateur a record six times between 1949 and 1970.

Low Amateur Charles Coe speaks at the 1970 Masters

Charles Coe was Masters Low Amateur a record six times

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Given his extraordinary achievements, it’s perhaps surprising Coe didn’t turn professional. However, speaking to Sports Illustrated in 1999 the by then 75-year-old explained family came first, saying: "I talked to my wife, Elizabeth, and she said that if I thought I was going to raise three children out of a suitcase, I was crazy."

There is one blot on Coe’s Masters copybook. He was disqualified in 1957. However, there is no doubt Coe's incredible list of achievements far outweighs that failure.

Coe’s achievements even stretched far beyond The Masters. He won the US Amateur twice and was runner-up in the British amateur in his 1951 debut. Elsewhere, he also played on six winning Walker Cup teams, including once as captain in 1959. He was also a non-playing captain in the US’s 1957 win.

Coe passed away in 2001, but, thanks to his achievements, he'll surely be remembered long after even today's players have walked away from the hallowed grounds of Augusta National for the final time.

Charles Coe's Amateur Masters Records

  • Most Starts (19)
  • Best Finish (T2) – 1961
  • Most Top 10 Finishes (3) – 1959, 1961, 1962
  • Most Low Amateur (6)
  • Most Cuts Made (8)
  • Most Eagles (6)
  • Most Rounds Played (67)
  • Most Rounds Par Or Better (22)
  • Most Four Rounds Par Or Better (2) – 1961
  • Most Rounds In 60s, Career (4)
  • Most Rounds In 60s, One Tournament (2) – 1961
  • Low Third Round (67) – 1959
  • Low Middle 36 Holes (140) – 1961
  • Low Last 36 Holes (138) – 1961
  • Low Last 54 Holes (209) – 1961
  • Low Last 72 Holes (281) – 1961
Mike Hall
News Writer

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.