- Sam Bennett is an amateur golfer from Madisonville, Texas
- The Texas A&M student won the 2022 U.S. Amateur at age 22
- He made a record-breaking debut at the 2023 Masters
Sam Bennett made an astounding debut at the 2023 Masters — and he’s only an amateur! The Texas A & M senior posted the lowest round by an amateur in his first round since 1956! He’s also the first player since Jim Gallagher Jr. in 1991 to go bogey-free in his first round, per Golf. And he sat third behind superstar Jon Rahm and the leader Brooks Koepka when the third round was suspended for weather!
“I knew my golf was good enough to compete out here,” Sam told the New York Times after the second round. “I found myself in a situation that now I’ve got a golf tournament that I can go out and win.”
His putting game was especially exciting to watch and he shared a few clips of it to his Instagram. Let’s learn more about Sam Bennett, below.
How Did Sam Get To Play In The Masters?
The Masters tournament was established by an amateur champion, Bobby Jones, in 1934 and continues a tradition of honoring amateur golf by inviting winners of the most prestigious amateur tournaments in the world. Sam earned a chance to swing for the iconic green jacket by taking home the big prize at the U.S. Amateur tournament in 2022, where he bested the top 15 of the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
Why Is He A Big Deal?
His early showing at the Masters gave the real possibility of an amateur winning, the first time in its history! If Sam wins as an amateur, he’ll still get to take home the iconic green jacket and the Silver Cup trophy! He can’t keep the prize money, however, which would go to the second place winner.
Sam Says His ‘Good Golf Is Good Enough’
When the second round of the Masters was suspended due to weather, Sam was third with only one stroke behind Rahm, the 2021 U.S. Open winner. At the time, Sam told The New York Times that he was pretty confident he could catch up to Rahm because his “good golf is good enough.”
He said he did not expect all that many nerves whenever he plays the third round.
“I made the cut as an amateur,” he said. “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.”
His Response To Missing Out On Pro Prize Money Was Hilarious
During a 2023 Masters press conference, Sam was asked how he feels about missing out on the chance for The Masters’ prize money with his amateur status; a second place finish can reach into the 6 digits, according to Golf Digest. Sam replied with a shy smile, “NIL’s been pretty good this year,” as the room erupted with laughter. AS seen in the last year’s second made $1.6 million. if he thinks about “NIL” has been good this year.
NIL (Name Image Likeness) refers to the NCAA legislation that gives college athletes the chance to engage in “endorsement deals, leveraging social media for pay, and getting compensated for coaching, making personal appearances and signing autographs,” per Golf Week.
Sam Has A Heartbreaking Tattoo In Honor Of His Late Father
Sadly, Sam’s father, Mark Bennett, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2013 at the age of 45 and died from it in 2021, according to Golf Digest. The outlet reported that Sam tattooed a phrase Mark wrote down for him before he died: “Don’t wait to do something.” They were the last words Mark was able to write, per Golf Digest. Sam glances at the tattoo before every swing, according to Golf.
“I thrive on it,” Sam told the outlet. “I use it for some motivation. I know how happy he would be seeing me out here at Augusta National doing what I’m doing. This week, I’ve used it to just stay focused and really be locked in to that one shot.”
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