Has an amateur ever won The Masters? Highest finish for non-pro players at Augusta National

Sam Bennett is well placed after two rounds - but has an amateur ever won The Masters?

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Amateur Sam Bennett is out to “do something special” on dream Masters debut

The 23-year-old from Texas, who won the US Amateur last year to secure his place in the year’s first major, now has his sights set far higher than beating the six other amateurs in the field. He is third place on the leaderboard after he carded a second consecutive 68 on Friday (7 April).

“Everybody coming into the week was, yeah, hope you get Low Am. That’s pretty much all they were saying,” Bennett said. “I just wanted to put two good rounds up. I knew my golf was good enough to compete out here. I found myself in a situation that now I’ve got a golf tournament that I can go out and win.

“I don’t have a pretty swing like some of the other amateurs. (But) I’ve done the right things this week. I was prepared. I was more experienced than the other guys, and yeah, I sit here with a chance to go on the weekend and do something special.”

But has an amateur ever won the whole thing? The Masters has a long and proud history of featuring amateur golfers. It was actually established by an amateur - Bobby Jones - who came up with the idea for the Augusta National in the early 20th century.

The winners of the most prestigious amateur tournaments in the world are invited to take part in it each year. The U.S amateur champion always plays in the same group as the defending Masters champion for the first two days of the tournament.

Amateurs taking part in the tournament are invited to stay at the “Crow’s Nest” atop the Augusta National clubhouse. It is 1,200 square feet with lodging space for five during the competition.

Amateur Sam Bennett at The Masters. Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty ImagesAmateur Sam Bennett at The Masters. Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images
Amateur Sam Bennett at The Masters. Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Has an amateur ever won The Masters?

Sam Bennett is well placed to be competing at the business-end of the tournament in Augusta this weekend. He goes into the third round behind just Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka.

The amateur will be in the final grouping on Saturday, hoping to keep his dreams of a major shock alive. But has the Masters even been won by a non-professional player?

The answer to that is no, despite how romantic the idea might be. However a couple of amatuers have come very close to pulling on the green jacket.

Ken Venturi came closest in 1956, finishing in second place.

What are the highest finishes for amateurs at The Masters?

While history suggest that Bennett will struggle to truly compete for the win at the Augusta National, he will be looking to keep himself as high on the leaderboard as possible. He is currently third place going into Saturday’s action, which would be the joint-fourth best finish for an amateur.

If the table stayed the way it is at the end of the tournament, Bennett would be the highest placed amateur in the 21st century at The Masters.

The highest finishes for amateurs are:

  • Ken Venturi - 2nd - 1956
  • Charlie Coe - T2 - 1961
  • Frank Stranahan - T2 - 1947
  • Billy Joe Patterson - 3rd - 1954
  • Harvie Ward - 4th - 1957
  • Jack Nicklaus - T7 - 1961

Do amateurs get prize money at The Masters?

Sam Bennett will have had a week to remember no matter what happenes over the final two rounds of the tournament at the Augusta National. But while he has made the cut, he will not actually get to share any of the $15m prize pot.

Amateurs do not receive any money for appearing at The Masters. However his profile will be significantly increased following his incredible display - leaving him in good position to turn professional.

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