Bamburgh Castle’s Garrick Porteous really will be ‘living the dream’ when he tees off in the US Masters at Augusta National later today.
The British Amateur Champion is off at 11.36am, paired alongside two-time Masters champion Jose-Maria Olazabal and former US Open winner Lucas Glover for the first two rounds.
The 24-year-old has been enjoying preparations for his Masters debut, practising with former Masters champion Mike Weir and world number four Jason Day on Monday.
He then played in the traditional par 3 competition yesterday with his sister, Angharad, caddying. Good friend Michael Burrows will be on the bag for the tournament proper.
It seems rather fitting the tagline on his website is ‘Living the Dream’.
However, the reality of the 7,435-yard test over the manicured perfection that awaits him is that no Amateur Champion has made the halfway cut since Sergio Garcia in 1999 and no British Amateur Champion since Peter McEvoy in 1978.
At least he tackles the challenge in good form, having won the Georgia Cup - the historic pre-Masters event where the Amateur Champion plays the US Amateur Champion - with a 3&2 victory over compatriot Matthew Fitzpatrick.
Gary Wolstenholme, who played in the Masters twice as reigning Amateur Champion, advised: “He has to make sure his short game is as good as it possibly can be.
“It’s also about having the right equipment for the course. He might think about more rescue clubs than long irons, that sort of thing. Most importantly, he’s got to go out and enjoy it and not get down on himself if he makes a bogey. Patience is a big key.”
Porteous, who lives in Morpeth, qualified for the Masters after beating Toni Hakula of Finland 6&5 at Royal Cinque Ports in Kent last summer. That also earned him a spot in The Open at Muirfield, although he missed the cut by three.
He will turn professional straight after the Masters - foregoing an invitation to play in the US Open at Pinehurst in June - to give himself a better chance of earning a tour card.
“Not many players can say their last tournament as an amateur was the Masters,” Porteous said.