Who Are This Year’s Unlikely Winners At The Masters?


Many players will be going home with a Masters trophy, even though they may not have appeared to have done that well in the tournament. This is why…

What’s that you say, I must be kidding — unlikely winners at the Masters? This is a tournament last won by a debutant in 1979. With 26 of the 92 in the field debutants, that narrowed the list of likely winners.

Plus several of the experienced players are, well, perhaps overly experienced shall we say. They are there as part of Masters history, rather than to play at the weekend (although 63-year old Bernhard Langer did not appear to get that memo).

The tournament was eventually won by the World Number One. So am I having a laugh talking about unlikely winners at the Masters?

Well no. Augusta National likes to dish out awards and rewards. So many of the golfers are going away this week with something tangible for their efforts. Or rather, they will be expecting something in the post shortly, as that is how these things work at Augusta National.

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Take Yuxin Lin. On the face of it, the Chinese amateur did not have a good tournament. He carded 79 and 73 and finished 87th out of 90. But he’ll be one of those waiting for the postman.

His tournament started badly. He was in the first group off the 10th tee and started double bogey, bogey, bogey. But after he had played his sixth hole, he knew he’d be going home with a trophy. He had eagled 15 and everyone who makes an eagle at the Masters gets a pair of crystal goblets.

Matt Wallace

Matt Wallace and girlfriend Chelsie Joce hold the trophy for winning the 2019 Masters Par 3 Contest. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Matt Wallace is not one of the first names you would necessarily associate with Masters success. But he has won Masters trophies now in consecutive years. Years in which he missed the cut and then finished tied for 46th.

Normally the prizes start being handed out even before the tournament starts. A hole in one in the eve-of-tournament Par 3 contest, as in the tournament proper, wins a crystal bowl. So, too, does the winner of the Par 3 get a trophy.

The lack of a Par 3 Contest this year, meant Wallace could not defend his Par 3 title. But he has still won trophies at consecutive Masters for he, too, made an eagle on the 15th in his first round. (He also made one in the second round, on the 2nd hole.)

Masters invite

Then of course there is the prize money. Anyone in the top 50 wins some. Coming 50th wins $28,980.

Opportunities to play at Augusta National are few and far between for most people, and many people would pay huge sums for the privilege at an exclusive club which has several billionaires among its membership. But here is a chap getting paid lavishly to, well, frankly be beaten by the majority of the field.

Okay, it doesn’t compare with the $2,070,000 that Dustin Johnson gets. Nor with the amount of prize money Tiger Woods has won at the Masters over the years — $9.49m coming into this tournament — but still, it’s a tidy sum for a week’s work.

Six players knew they would not win any prize money however well they played — the amateurs. They also have their own competition-within-a-competition for a Silver Cup. This was won by Andy Ogletree who came tied in 34th overall.

He beat the only other amateur to make the cut, John Augenstein. But Augenstein will be getting a trophy, too. Yep, you’ve guessed it, he made an eagle.

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