Vandalia’s Greaser makes Masters debut

Credit: David J. Phillip

Credit: David J. Phillip

Junior at North Carolina fires opening-round 74 at Augusta National Golf Club

Butler High School grad Austin Greaser fired a 2-over-par 74 Thursday in the first round of the Masters.

Greaser, a junior on North Carolina’s top-10 ranked men’s golf team, made three birdies and five bogeys in his major championship debut at Augusta National Golf Club.

Greaser, 21, made bogey on the opening hole but answered with a birdie on No. 2. After a bogey on the seventh, Greaser birdied back-to-back holes to make the turn in 1-under 35. But bogeys on Nos. 10 and 11 and a 3-putt bogey on the par-3 16th resulted in a 3-over 39 on the back nine.

“I think I played fairly well,” Greaser told reporters. “I feel like I hit a lot good putts that didn’t go in the hole. I hit a lot of edges today, but I tried to keep my composure and just kept rolling it. Wish I could have a couple of strokes back there on the back nine, but that’s just golf.”

Greaser was in the second group off the first tee Thursday and was paired with three-time major champion Padraig Harrington and former Masters champ Mike Weir, Harrington and Weir also carded 74s.

“It was awesome,” Greaser said of playing with the pair of major champions. “I like those guys a lot, and I’m looking forward to another 18 with them tomorrow. I really enjoyed my time with them, and it was an honor to play with them. “You see them all the time on TV and what they’ve accomplished. Hat’s off to them. I really appreciate them taking me under their wing a little bit today and being kind.”

The threesome tees it up in the second round at 11:18 a.m. Friday.

Greaser earned the Masters invite and a spot in the U.S. Open in June with his runner-up finish in last summer’s U.S. Amateur at Oakmont Country Club.

Greaser followed up his strong summer with his first collegiate victory in September. He holed out a 168-yard shot on the final hole to win the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational.

The 2020 Ohio Amateur champion, Greaser has the lowest stroke average in Tar Heel history at 71.43 over 76 rounds in 24 college tournaments. He’s the only North Carolina player with a career average below 72. Greaser is the 11th-ranked amateur in the world by Golfweek/Amateur and No. 23 in the world in the World Amateur Golf Rankings.

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