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Playing Augusta National on hold for handful of first-time Masters participants

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – When news of the Masters postponement reached the clubhouse at TPC Sawgrass, Matthew Wolff realized that his first trip down Magnolia Lane would have to wait a little while.

Wolff earned his first Masters invite with his victory at last year’s 3M Open, and he is one of 23 players who had qualified to make their first appearance at Augusta National in less than a month. The former Oklahoma State standout had planned to play his first practice rounds on the hallowed grounds next week, anticipating two days on the grounds in lieu of a start at the Valspar Championship.

Masters postponed due to coronavirus concerns

The Masters has been postponed because of coronavirus concerns, Augusta National announced Friday.

But now those plans are all in flux, as Augusta National officials announced Friday that the year’s first major will be postponed. The news came on the heels of the PGA Tour’s decision to cancel The Players after one round, along with events across all tours over the next three weeks.

“I feel like tomorrow I’m going to wake up and this is all going to be some big joke,” Wolff said. “I feel like it’s straight out of a movie.”

Other players who expecting to make their first Masters appearance this year include Abraham Ancer, Cameron Champ, Max Homa, Sungjae Im, C.T. Pan and Erik van Rooyen.

Like Wolff, J.T. Poston was eagerly anticipating his first Masters bid after breaking through for his maiden win at the Wyndham Championship in August. Instead he was cleaning out his locker at TPC Sawgrass just minutes after news broke from Augusta, unsure of when he’ll next tee it up.

Augusta statement: Masters postponed, possibly played in October?

Augusta statement: Masters postponed, possibly played in October?

“That’s not a fun message to get. That’s a tournament that I’ve been looking forward to since I was a kid, and still very much looking forward to it,” Poston said. “I know I’ll get my chance at it. I just don’t know when that’ll be.”

Sebastian Munoz snagged his first Masters bid with his win at the Sanderson Farms Championship in September, and he played his first practice rounds at Augusta National a few weeks later. The Colombian had already rented out two houses near the course for the week that were going to be at capacity with friends and family eager to watch him play, plans that have now become a casualty of an unprecedented situation.

“I knew it was not going to be cancelled, so postponed doesn’t sound that bad yet. I just feel bad for the people that had already made all the arrangements,” Munoz said. “But it had to be (postponed). There was no way it was going to be the only event that was not going to be cancelled or postponed. It was just the last domino.”