The Masters Amateurs In The Field - Augusta National 2023

This year's Augusta National tournament will feature seven amateurs vying for the Silver Cup

Four golfers and a Masters flag in a montage
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As well as featuring many of the world’s most high-profile players, The Masters also offers a route to Augusta National for several amateurs, all aiming to get their hands on the prestigious Silver Cup.

This year is no different, with seven amateurs set to stay in the Crow's Nest before teeing it up alongside household names including Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy.

Sam Bennett, Ben Carr, Harrison Crowe, Mateo Fernandez De Oliveira, Matthew McClean, Aldrich Potgieter and Gordon Sargent are the amateurs in this year’s field, but how did they qualify?

Sam Bennett

How he qualified: Current US Amateur champion

Sam Bennett takes a shot at the 2022 US Open

Sam Bennett qualifies as US Amateur champion

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Texan Bennett booked his place in the first Major of the year thanks to finishing one up over Ben Carr following a bruising encounter in the 122nd US Amateur at The Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey.

That gave him the honour of being the first US Amateur champion in Texas A&M history – a long way from the child who took up the game at a nine-hole golf course at his native Madisonville.

Bennett’s Masters appearance won’t be the last we see of him in this year’s Majors, either. Thanks to his win, he also earned an exemption to The Open at Royal Liverpool. While each occasion is sure to be nerve-wracking for the 23-year-old, he can draw on an accomplished performance in last year’s US Open at the Country Club of Brookline, where he made the cut before finishing in a tie for 49th.

The US Amateur win meant even more to Bennett because he lost his dad to Alzheimer’s the previous June. To commemorate him, Bennett has a tattoo on the inside of his arm with the last words of advice as they appeared on a handwritten note given to him by his father - “Don’t wait to do something”.

Ben Carr

How he qualified: Runner-up in the US Amateur

Benn Carr takes a shot during the 2023 Puerto Rico Open

Carr missed out an a US Amateur win, but qualifies as runner-up

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While it wasn’t quite to be in Carr's efforts to claim the US Amateur trophy, like his victor Bennett, his achievement was heavy with emotion.

Carr lost his dad suddenly in 2019, and in a TV interview following his semi-final win over Derek Hitchner 3&2, the magnitude of the achievement saw him break down as he recalled being unable to find a ball marker dedicated to his late father on the first tee. He battled on and finally found it on the 16th in his left pocket, before going onto reach the final and change the trajectory of his career.

Despite ultimately losing out to Bennett, the tournament was redemption for the fifth-year Georgia Southern senior after he’d finished a disappointing 52nd at the Western Amateur and begun to question whether he belonged in the competitive game.

Harrison Crowe

How he qualified: Current Asia-Pacific Amateur champion

Harrison Crowe at the 2022 World Amateur Team Golf Championships

Harrison Crowe won a nailbiting Asia-Pacific Amateur to qualify

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Like Bennett, Australian Crowe also qualifies for The Masters and The Open, this time courtesy of a one-shot win in the Asia-Pacific Amateur. For a time, it appeared his efforts would be in vain. 

After securing a two-shot lead following the third round, the 21-year-old fell three behind China’s Bo Jin after nine holes of the final round. However, four birdies in five kept Crowe in contention and he regained the lead at 17 after disaster struck for Jin. His one-shot advantage disappeared after he found the water instead of the famous Amata Spring Country Club island green. A par was enough on the final hole for Crowe earn him a title.

Following the win, Crowe said: "I came out here this week with something to prove and I'm extremely proud of myself. I hung in there. It took a lot of digging deep."

Crowe had been planning to turn professional following the tournament, but those plans have understandably been put on hold so he can retain his amateur status and compete in the two Majors.

Mateo Fernandez De Oliveira

How he qualified: Current Latin America Amateur champion

Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira takes a shot in the 2022 World Amateur Team Golf Championships

Argentinian Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira qualified the day before his birthday

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The Argentinian earned the best possible early birthday present a day before turning 23 – appearances at this year’s Masters, US Open and The Open thanks to his Latin America Amateur win at Grand Reserve Golf Club in Puerto Rico.

He achieved it in some style too, completing a record-breaking 23-under 265 with a final round of 67, two better than Joaquin Neimann managed in the same tournament four years earlier. Even then, he still needed to hold off a strong challenge from Mexican Luis Carrera before eventually claiming victory by a comfortable four shots.

The win exorcised the demons from a year earlier for Fernandez De Oliveira. Back then, he failed to achieve the birdie he needed on the final hole to force a playoff with eventual winner Aaron Jarvis.

Matthew McClean

How he qualified: Current US Mid-Amateur champion

Matthew McClean takes a shot during the 2022 World Amateur Team Golf Championships - Eisenhower Trophy competition

Matthew McClean beat Hugh Foley to the US Mid-Amateur title

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The Northern Irishman earned his ticket to both the Masters and US Open thanks to a 3&1 win over Dubliner Hugh Foley at 2017 US Open venue Erin Hills to claim the US Mid-Amateur title.

The 29-year-old Malone Golf Club member took a two-hole lead into the final round before clinching the title after an assured performance that saw him join Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy as Northern Irishmen to win a USGA championship.

The achievement also earned McClean an exemption into this year’s US Amateur.

Aldrich Potgieter

How he qualified: Current British Amateur Champion

Alrdich Potgieter takes a shot during the 2022 Open at St Andrews

Aldrich Potgieter is one of seven amateurs in the field

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South African Potgieter became the second-youngest Amateur Championship winner when, aged 17, he beat England’s Sam Bairstow 3&2 to take the title at Royal Lytham & St Annes and book his place at Augusta National. It also cemented his reputation as one of the most exciting amateur talents.

That win followed other impressive victories for Australia-raised Potgieter including the 2020 South Australian Junior Masters, and the 2021 Western Australian Amateur. Meanwhile, it also ensures Potgieter will play in this year’s US Open and The Open.

Gordon Sargent

How he qualified: Special Invitation

Gordon Sargent takes a shot at the 2022 World Amateur Team Golf Championships - Eisenhower Trophy

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American Sargent became the first amateur to accept a special invitation since Aaron Baddeley in 2000 to open the door for his debut Masters appearance. 

The reigning NCAA Division I Men’s Individual Champion is a sophomore at Vanderbilt University and currently holds the top position in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, so he comes with some pedigree. He is also known for his big-hitting, and it is widely anticipated that the 19-year-old will one day grace the PGA Tour. 

However, for now he is content to retain his amateur status, and admitted to The Golf Channel: "I don’t think I’m ready to play professional golf right now. I can’t even imagine travelling the world by myself playing professional golf at age 20. I’d rather just stay in college another couple years and get better. And if you have a PGA Tour card waiting for you, it gives you a lot of freedom.”

While all that will likely come in good time, Sargent’s invite offers him the ideal opportunity to showcase his burgeoning talents on one of the greatest stages of all.

Mike Hall

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.