Standout amateur Sam Bennett just getting started at the Masters

Stacy Bennett made a woosh sound as if she was doing just that. In the foreground of her sightline sat Amen Corner, and just a few yards from where her feet were stood her son, Sam, on the 12th tee box ready to flight a ball into the most famous green in America.

"It's all surreal," Stacy told ESPN. "I know that's a cliché, but it's been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

The 23-year-old amateur with a slight frame and a vicious swing from Madisonville, Texas has turned his invitation into a showcase, his opportunity into history. Bennett, who won the U.S. Amateur last year to enter into the Masters, followed up a bogey-free opening round of 68 with another 4-under 68 on Friday to head into the weekend as not just the low amateur, but in sole possession of third place and four shots behind the leader Brooks Koepka.

As Bennett played his round Friday, the gallery that followed him added patrons by the hole. Rumors of what Bennett was doing spread through the grounds. Still, in a crowd it was easy to spot Bennett's support group. Most were wearing Texas A&M gear and colors, cheering loudly with every drive, every approach and every putt. Others had driven 13 hours overnight to come watch him after their flight was canceled, and they couldn't believe their eyes.

"Phone been' blowing up!" Stacy said. "I had over 70 messages when I went back yesterday."

The messages are unlikely to stop.


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