The Masters: English amateur Laird Shepherd relishes Augusta National’s ‘surreal’ debut | Golf News

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England amateur champion Laird Shepherd says he has yet to sink into the fact that he has won a place in The Masters

England amateur champion Laird Shepherd says he has yet to sink into the fact that he has won a place in The Masters

England amateur Laird Shepherd is looking forward to his “surreal” Masters debut after qualifying in dramatic fashion last year.

The 24-year-old won the 126th Amateur Championship at Nairn in June, producing a stunning comeback to beat fellow Englishman Monty Scowsill after 17 holes of the 36-hole final.

With a place in the Masters, Open Championship and US Open on the line, he was still four and four away, but he won them all before securing the title on the second extra hole.

“For some reason, I never really felt like I was going to lose and just kept myself alive. To get to the second extra hole, I couldn’t believe it,” Shepherd said. Sky Sports News at Augusta National.

Shepherd’s win was all the more remarkable given his back and knee problems, which often meant he went months without touching a club, and he was considering returning to college to study for a another diploma barely 10 days before the final.

He also worked in a Tesco call center during lockdown but has since competed in The Open Championship at Royal St George’s and made the Cazoo Classic cut on the DP World Tour.

Shepherd in action at the Royal St George's Golf Club Open last year where he missed the cut by two shots

Shepherd in action at the Royal St George’s Golf Club Open last year where he missed the cut by two strokes

A “surreal” Masters debut now awaits Shepherd and he will also play the US Open in June.

“It probably won’t be integrated until I fix it on Thursday,” he added. “I never really got that far in my dreams because it just didn’t seem to happen. It’s quite surreal to be here and I can’t wait to be there.

“A little over a year ago I was working in a call center in Dundee for Tesco. I had been struggling for three and a half or four years with injuries and hadn’t really been able to play on a schedule fixed because of that.

“I was starting to think about doing other things to be honest so in terms of Covid it almost hit at the right time as it gave me some time to reassess what I needed to do to be healthy and play and I was able to go on and obviously play golf and play decent golf.”

“Would you like to play with Tiger”

Shepherd will learn on Tuesday who he will play with for the first two rounds and while he says he is happy to play with anyone, he has one player in particular in mind in the form of five-time Masters champion Tiger Woods, who will play take a “game decision” on making a remarkable comeback after traveling to Augusta National on Sunday.

“Honestly, I’d take anyone – anyone who plays in this area is pretty good at golf, so it’ll be fun to learn from whoever I get the chance to play with,” Shepherd said.

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April 4, 2022, 5:00 p.m.

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“Obviously you’d like to play with Tiger. To think, growing up, playing now in the same event as him, potentially – we’ll see what happens – that would be completely surreal. I’ll probably do my best to look for him at a given time just to say hello.

“This guy is just a god, he has such an aura and personally to have the injury issues that I had to see someone like him constantly come back and put in the hard yards to come and play tournament golf again is quite inspiring. Golf owes him a lot.”

Professional plan after the US Open

After playing the Masters and the US Open as an amateur, Shepherd plans to turn professional.

He said: “I’ll probably turn pro on Monday after the US Open goes well. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and these events give me a good start on that journey I guess.

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April 7, 2022, 2 p.m.

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“[I will] try to learn a lot and gain experience, then we’ll see what we can do. Getting a card for next year is my goal and going from there.

“I have the utmost respect for anyone who plays professional golf because it’s a chore. It means you have to enjoy things like this because it might never happen again. I’m definitely going to enjoy this week. “

The Shepherd twins have a busy week ahead

One member of Shepherd’s family who won’t be at Augusta National watching over him is his twin brother, Callum, a top flat jockey who is expected to ride in all weathers Thursday and Friday.

Jockey Callum Shepherd has ridden 14 winners so far this year

Jockey Callum Shepherd has ridden 14 winners so far this year

“It’s not the same as being there, but I will follow him as closely as possible. For him, being there is very, very special, but I hope he can play good golf,” Callum Shepherd told The Racing Post.

“My parents are going to family friends. They rented a house but I’m going to stick here at Redcar [on Monday].”

When is The Masters live on Sky Sports?

What time does Masters coverage start? What additional streams are available? How can I follow the action from Augusta National? Our guide to watching the opening men’s major of the year live on Sky Sports Golf.

Monday april 4th

1700-1900 – On the beach LIVE!

1900-2200 – Live from the Masters

Tuesday, April 5

1400-2200 – Live from the Masters

Wednesday 6 April

1400-1900 – Live from the Masters

7:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. – The Masters competition: Par-3 LIVE!

Thursday, April 7

1400-1930 – Featured Bands LIVE!

1930-0030 – The Masters: Day One LIVE!

Red Button (exact times to be confirmed) – 1330 On the Range, 1430 Holes 4-6, 1545 Amen Corner, 1645 Holes 15-16, 1830 Featured Groups

friday april 8

1400-1930 – Featured Bands LIVE!

1930-0030 – The Masters: Day Two LIVE!

Red Button (exact times to be confirmed) – 1330 On the Range, 1430 Holes 4-6, 1545 Amen Corner, 1645 Holes 15-16, 1830 Featured Groups

saturday april 9

0900-1200 – LIVE Masters Breakfast!

1500-1930 – The rise of the Masters LIVE!

1930-0030 – The Masters: Day Three LIVE!

Red Button (exact times to be confirmed) – 1515 featured bands, 1530 holes 4-6, 1600 on course, 1645 Amen Corner, 1730 holes 15-16

sunday april 10

0900-1200 – LIVE Masters Breakfast!

1500-1830 – Preparation for the Masters LIVE!

1830-0030 – The Masters: Day 4 LIVE!

Red Button (exact times to be confirmed) – 1515 featured bands, 1530 holes 4-6, 1600 on course, 1645 Amen Corner, 1730 holes 15-16

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