LAS VEGAS – Last winter the Texas Tech men’s golf team was invited to play Augusta National.
“We tried to have as much fun as possible,” senior Matias Dominguez said, “because we said that we might never get to come back here.”
Well, not only did Dominguez return to the home of the Masters last week for a 45-hole excursion, but he’ll also squeeze in a few more practice rounds at the end of the month in advance of the real thing.
In January, Dominguez won the inaugural Latin America Amateur Championship, which offers an invitation to the Masters. He shot 11-under 277 at Pilar Golf Club in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to secure the spot, as well as exemptions into the final stage of qualifying for both the U.S. and British opens.
This week it was announced that Dominguez also earned a Web.com spot start in his home country of Chile, scheduled for March 19-22.
The 22-year-old said his dream was to simply play a PGA Tour event as an amateur. Now, in what is his final year before joining the play-for-pay ranks, he’ll compete in golf’s version of the Super Bowl.
“It’s the best I can ask for,” he said.
Other amateurs in next month’s field include U.S. Amateur champion Gunn Yang and runner-up Corey Conners, as well as the Asia-Pacific champion Antonio Murdaca, U.S. Amateur Public Links champ Byron Meth, U.S. Mid-Amateur winner Scott Harvey and British Amateur champion Bradley Neil.
After walking around in awe during his initial visit to Augusta National in 2014, Dominguez started to develop a strategy while he played alongside his college coaches during last week’s practice rounds (27 holes one day, 18 the next). He looks forward to returning later this month, when the course is firmer and closer to tournament conditions.
Dominguez tied for 18th in this week’s Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters. In eight starts this season, he has just three top-15s.
“I’ve done a really good job of just making it all the way there,” he said, “so whatever happens, happens.”