The Masters Amateurs In The Field - Augusta National 2022

This year's tournament will feature six amateurs vying for the Silver Cup

Laird Shepherd poses with the trophy at the 2021 British Amateur Championship
(Image credit: Getty Images)

After Covid restrictions reduced last year’s amateur field to just three, there are double the number of amateurs at this year's Masters, all aiming to get their hands on the prestigious Silver Cup

This year's amateurs are Austin Greaser, Stewart Hagestad, Aaron Jarvis, Keita Nakajima, James Piot and Laird Shepherd. But how did they qualify? And what are the stories of their golf careers so far? Featuring nerve-wracking wins, against-the-odds comebacks, and the first Cayman Islander to qualify for The Masters, the routes these amateurs took to reach Augusta National are as interesting as they are impressive. Let's take a look. 

The Masters Amateurs In The Field

Austin Greaser

World Amateur Golf Ranking: 22
How He Qualified: Finished 2nd in the 2021 US Amateur Championship

Austin Greaser tees off at the 2021 Wake Forest Invitational at Pinehurst No.2

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ohio native Greaser qualified for his first Masters tournament by reaching the 36-hole championship match at last August’s US Amateur. In the event, the 20-year-old finished runner-up to James Piot, but it was enough to claim a place at the Masters and this year’s US Open. 

Greaser made headlines the following month, too, when an incredible 168-yard hole-in-one clinched his first college title as he led the University of North Carolina men's team to a three-shot win at the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational. Following that victory, UNC coach Andrew DiBitetto was quick to suggest Greaser has a big future in the game: "Austin has played tremendous golf for a long time now. All of us are excited for him to get his first collegiate win and to do so in such dramatic fashion by holing out on 18 and to do it on a golf course where he plans on competing in major championships in the future."

Stewart Hagestad

World Amateur Golf Ranking:15 How He Qualified: Current US Mid-Amateur Champion.

Stewart Hagestad plays a shot at the 2021 Walker Cup

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For 30-year-old Hagestad, 2022 marks his second appearance at The Masters. His debut came in 2017, where he made the cut, finishing creditably in a tie for 36th. In doing so, he won the Silver Cup as the lowest-scoring amateur who made the cut.

His qualification for that tournament came via the same route as this year – winning the US Mid-Amateur. That victory last year came courtesy of a 2&1 finals win over Mark Costanza. The win capped a glorious 2021 for Hagestad, who also represented the US in its Walker Cup win and won the George C. Thomas Invitational by nine shots.

Hagestad is regarded as one of the best amateurs in the game, possessed of the necessary ability and mentality to make it in professionally. Indeed, former US Walker Cup captain Spider Miller once described Hagestad as “one of the best amateur golfers who didn’t turn pro in my lifetime." However, despite his repuation and considerable success as an amateur, Hagestad says he has no plans to turn professional. 

Aaron Jarvis

World Amateur Golf Ranking: 827 How He Qualified: Current Latin America Amateur Champion

Aaron Jarvis at the 2018 Junior Open Championship

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Cayman Islander Jarvis qualifies for The Masters courtesy of victory in the Latin America Amateur Championship in January. The 19-year-old University of Nevada freshman’s win also ensured him a place at this year’s Open Championship at St Andrews, and the final stage of US Open qualifying.

Following his nerve-wracking one-shot victory in the Latin America Amateur Championship, Jarvis couldn’t hide his delight, saying: “I can’t even put this into words. What a day. It means the world to me. The opportunity to go to the Masters, the British Open. There’s no young golfer who doesn’t dream of anything but going to those tournaments.” Jarvis will be the first golfer from the Cayman Islands to play at The Masters.

Keita Nakajima

World Amateur Golf Ranking: 1 How He Qualified: Current Asia-Pacific Amateur Champion

Keita Nakajima plays a shot during the 2022 Sony Open in Hawaii at Waialae Country Club

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Amateur World No.1 Nakajima qualified for The Masters thanks to a thrilling playoff victory over Hong Kong’s Taichi Kho in last November's Asia-Pacific Amateur in Dubai. For the Japanese star, his appearance at Augusta will be particularly special, as he gets to play a practice round with compatriot and current Masters champion, Hideki Matsuyama. Indeed, Nakajima's career is following a similar path to Matsuyama's. He too qualified for The Masters as an amateur, in 2011, thanks to an Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship win.  

Nakajima's victory last year also earns him an exemption to the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews later this year. On top of that, he'll play at the US Open thanks to claiming the Mark H. McCormack Medal as 2021’s top men’s amateur. For Nakajima, who counts five-time Masters winner Tiger Woods as his idol, a Masters appearance marks another step in his ambitions to one day become a professional on the PGA Tour. Nakajima will also appear in the upcoming Netflix docuseries following players taking part in the year’s four Majors and PGA Tour.

James Piot

World Amateur Golf Ranking: 58 How He Qualified: Current US Amateur Champion

James Piot plays a tee shot in the first round of the 2022 Arnold Palmer Invitational

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Piot secured his invite for the Masters by reaching the final of last year’s US Amateur, where he beat Austin Greaser. Like Greaser, Piot’s appearance in the final also secured him a place at this year’s US Open. That strong performance over Greaser, that saw him win four consecutive holes on the back nine to win the title, ensured he also qualified for the Open Championship at St Andrews. 

However, with ambitions to turn professional in the near future, he may have to forfeit his appearance at the latter tournament. Nevertheless, even without his amateur status, he'll retain his slot at the US Open. Piot also competed in the 2022 Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he shot a pair of 78s and missed the cut.

Piot was raised on a public course complex in Michigan, and that upbringing meant he regularly played 72 holes in a day. Now 23, he is Michigan’s first US Amateur champion. A memorable 2021 also saw Piot earn the PING Honourable Mention All-American Team accolade.

Laird Shepherd

World Amateur Golf Ranking: 49
How He Qualified: Current British Amateur Champion

Laird Shepherd plays a tee shot during the 2021 Open

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Of all the amateurs appearing at The Masters in 2022, Shepherd’s route is probably the most remarkable. After 17 holes of the 36-hole final at last year’s British Amateur Championship in Nairn, the 23-year-old Englishman was eight behind Monty Scowsil, and by his own admission, focused only on avoiding humiliation: “I was honestly more concerned about not making an embarrassing record-breaking defeat,” explained Shepherd after his improbable win. Shepherd chipped away at Scowsill’s lead, eventually forcing a playoff that he won in two holes to crown an epic comeback

Shepherd’s win was even more unlikely considering he was a lowly 846 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings at the start of the tournament, and has a history of back problems. Such were those problems that a year earlier he had been working at a call centre for Tesco earning £8 an hour. Now he’s looking forward to not only a slot at The Masters, but also this year’s Open Championship and US Open.  

Mike Hall
Mike Hall

Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. 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.