Here we take a look at 7 of the best amateur performances at Augusta, from Frank Stranahan in the late 1940s right through to Ryan Moore last decade.

Amateur golfers are held in high regard at The Masters and that’s because one of the club’s founders was Bobby Jones – the greatest amateur ever to play the game of golf. Each year at Augusta, the invited amateurs are allowed to stay in the clubhouse for the week, they’re welcomed to the opening dinner and they play the first two rounds in the company of past champions.

Other amateurs have made good showing in The Masters, Matt Kuchar in 1998 and Casey Wittenberg in 2004 for example. But, below are what we feel to be the 7 best amateur performances at Augusta.

Ken Venturi: 2nd in 1956

Ken Venturi

Ken Venturi


The 24-year-old held the lead through 54-holes. Against an incredible field including Sam Snead, Ben Hogan and Arnold Palmer, the young amateur was four shots in front with just 18 holes to play.

In testing conditions, Venturi struggled and came home in 42 to card a closing 80. Jack Burke Jr posted a fine 71 to finish just one shot ahead of the young Venturi.

“Did I choke?” Venturi later said in his autobiography. “If you go by my score you can make that argument, but I choose to look at it differently.

Charlie Coe: T2 in 1961

Charlie Coe

Charlie Coe

Charlie Coe is the most successful amateur ever at The Masters. An Augusta member, he played 19 times and finished in the top-25 on nine occasions.

In 1961, the former WWII pilot was flying under the radar towards the end of the competition as Gary Player and Arnold Palmer fought for the title. Player emerged triumphant but, when Palmer double-bogeyed the final hole he fell back into a tie for second with 37-year-old Coe. The amateur had birdied the 13th, 14th and 15th holes to close with a fine 69.

Frank Stranahan: T2 in 1947

Frank Stranahan

Frank Stranahan

Coached by Byron Nelson as a junior, Stranahan won 70 amateur tournaments between 1936 and 1954. He was a great sportsman and had been a champion power lifter and then went on to be a long-distance runner after retiring from competitive golf.

In the 1947 Masters, Stranahan fired a superb final round of 68 to tie Byron Nelson for second place, two behind Jimmy Demaret.

Stranahan fell out with Augusta the following year and his invitation was revoked, although he returned the following year and nine further times subsequently. Stranahan also finished in second place in The Open Championship – behind Ben Hogan at Carnoustie in 1953.

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