Morning Chronicle - Major winners advise amateurs on Masters success secrets

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Major winners advise amateurs on Masters success secrets
Major winners advise amateurs on Masters success secrets

Major winners advise amateurs on Masters success secrets

Top-ranked amateur Keita Nakajima and Cayman Islands teen Aaron Jarvis were thrilled to get advice from Tiger Woods, Brooks Koepka and defending champion Hideki Matsuyama ahead of their Masters debuts.

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Nakajima won the 2021 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Dubai to qualify while 827th-ranked amateur Jarvis took January's Latin American Amateur Championship for his spot.

"It's still like a dream," Nakajima said through a translator. "It's pretty much surreal."

Matsuyama and Takumi Kanaya played a practice round with countryman Nakajima, who won the 2021 Panasonic Open on the Japan Tour and made the cut in two US PGA events this season.

"Both of them are big mentors for me," Nakajima said. "Takumi told me slope on the greens, sometimes you can't really see it, so be aware of that, and Hideki told me green condition every day it will change, so you have to be cautious."

Nakajima, 21, admits he's nervous, especially at his favorite hole, the par-3 12th.

"Hopefully the God of Golf likes me on that hole," he said.

Nakajima watched on television last year as Matsuyama became the first Japanese man to win a major title and the first Asian-born Masters champion.

"Hideki Matsuyama has been my inspiration," Nakajima said. "I was very moved history was made. Looking at someone achieving their dream is just fantastic."

Jarvis, 19, spoke to 15-time major winner Woods after their rounds on Sunday.

"It was pretty cool seeing him playing in front of me," Jarvis said. "After the round I got to talk to him for 10 minutes or so and it was just incredible."

His best advice, Jarvis said, was "just be yourself, go out and have fun and if you do the right preparation, everything will take care of itself."

On Monday, he played a few holes with four-time major winner Koepka.

"Pretty incredible. I learned a lot from him. It was an inspiration," Jarvis said. "He allowed myself to be who I am and get more comfortable with thousands of people following him. So, it was pretty cool."

Koepka's advice was to know that everyone was there to watch the golfers, from newcomers to stars.

"What he told me like helped me out a lot," Jarvis said. "They are here to watch players play so just know that, in your mind, they are there for you, so just perform and let the game come."

Jarvis said he was amazed at the hills of Augusta National.

"The elevation change was just crazy," he said. "You can't really see that kind of stuff on TV. Seeing the whole place for the first time was pretty incredible."