Matias Dominguez received simple but important advice from the one whose footsteps he’s following this week.
Dominguez, who won the inaugural Latin America Amateur Championship in January and is playing in his first Masters Tournament, met fellow Chilean Enrique Orellana a month ago.
Orellana, who missed the cut in 1964, is the only other Masters competitor from Chile in tournament history.
“He said, ‘Try to enjoy it and have fun,’” said Dominguez, 22. “‘Just try to learn the most out of it. You’re going to be put in positions where you’ve never been before, and the most you learn out of it, the best you’re going to be through it.’”
Dominguez, a senior at Texas Tech, is the first to compete in the Masters after winning the new Latin America Amateur, held at Pilar Golf Club in Argentina. He overcame a four-hour rain delay in the final round to win by one stroke at 11-under.
After playing in a college tournament in Texas last week, he flew in with professionals traveling to Augusta from the Houston Open. The amateur is staying in the Crow’s Nest this week, which he described as “really special.”
“That was really impressive (Monday) morning,” Dominguez said. “It’s the first experience you get actually at the Masters, when I woke up this morning, and walk down the stairs and see all the crowds and looking at the players tee off.”
Dominguez said golf isn’t a big sport in Chile but is getting better, and playing this week could help put the Masters logo on the map in the country.
With him will be a group that includes thrilled teammates.
“It’s been really fun to share that with all my teammates,” he said. “They were probably more excited than me, than coaches and family. They were all really excited to have this opportunity to go watch me play at the Masters.”
Dominguez will represent plenty when he competes at Augusta National Golf Club. The list includes family, coaches who have helped him reach this point and teammates who have supported him.
Perhaps most importantly to Dominguez, he represents golf history to Chile.
“I don’t know what to expect when I go back to Chile,” he said. “I hope I can represent them the best I can here at Augusta, and hope I’ll see them soon.”