Doug Ghim roars to Masters amateur lead behind pair of eagles
When Doug Ghim qualified for the Masters Tournament by reaching the final of the U.S. Amateur last August, his first thought was that he would be able to share the experience with his father Jeff, who is his teacher and caddie.
On Thursday, the Ghims captured the hearts of the patrons at Augusta National with a stellar back-nine performance.
Ghim holed out from 178 yards on the 18th hole, flushing a 6-iron that took two bounces before rolling into the cup. It is only the sixth eagle on No. 18 in Masters history, with the last coming in 2006 by Chris DiMarco. Ghim finished with an even-par 72. He is tied for 21st and has a four-stroke lead in the race for low amateur.
It was the second eagle on the back nine for the University of Texas senior, who also made a three at the par-5 13th with a hybrid to seven feet. He also had a birdie on No. 15.
“When I made my first eagle the first thing that popped in my mind is that I get a crystal for this,” said Ghim, who said he plans to potentially turn pro in June after playing the U.S. Open as an amateur. “I’m super excited that no matter what happens this week, I’m going to come home with something and with my name on it from the Masters, and not from the pro shop.”
His father Jeff, 59, is enjoying every moment of Doug’s first Masters.
“He started a little rough,” Jeff Ghim said of his son’s 39 on the front nine. “But the last four days he practiced better on the back nine. So I told him, 'Your section is coming up.' On the 18th, the ball flied where we pictured it exactly. I still feel like I’m dreaming. To do this in the Masters, I feel like I’m flying now.”
When Doug made the shot on 18, he said he saw his father racing toward him, and thought of the incident in the Par-3 Contest, where Tony Finau dislocated his ankle celebrating an ace.
“I turned around and he was running at me full speed,” Doug Ghim said with a laugh. “I thought, I’m going to have to absorb this a little bit. It’s a moment I’ll never forget for the rest of my life.”
Clemson sophomore Doc Redman, who beat Ghim to win the U.S. Amateur, shot 76, with birdies at the par-4 third hole and the par-5 13th. He played with defending champion Sergio Garcia and Justin Thomas.
“I was pretty nervous, but I was able to lock in pretty good and hit a pretty good first shot,” Redman said. “I think that made a big difference. I was pretty comfortable after that and nerves weren’t a factor.”
U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Matt Parziale, the 30-year-old firefighter from Brockton, Mass., shot 81. He had a 45 on the back nine, including a bogey on No. 10 and a double on No. 13.
“I’m not disappointed in the way I played just disappointed in the score,” said Parziale, whose father Vic is on his bag. “We played bad rounds before … It’s not the end of the world. We’re going to wake up tomorrow, hopefully.”
Joaquin Niemann, who qualified by winning the Latin America Amateur Championship in his native country of Chile, also shot 76. He birdied both par 5s on the back nine after bogeying both par 5s on the front.
Yuxin Lin of China, who qualified by winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur, will need a low round to make the cut after a 79. His lone birdie came on the ninth hole.
Harry Ellis, the British Amateur champion and a senior at Florida State, had a strong contingent of fans following his round of 86.