By Alex Maminakis
CLEMSON — Doc Redman usually wears purple and orange on the golf course, but today he’ll begin his quest for a green jacket.
The Clemson sophomore will tee off today at the Masters as an amateur, and he’ll be paired with defending champion Sergio Garcia and PGA champion Justin Thomas as he takes part in the most celebrated tournament of the year. The group will begin play today at 10:53 a.m., then tee off Friday at 1:38 p.m.
“Everyone wants to play the Masters. To be able to play so young and as an amateur, I couldn’t imagine it,” Redman said last week before leaving for Augusta, Ga. “That first tee on Thursday is going to be one of a kind, honestly. I can’t do anything to prepare for that. I just have to handle it as best as I can when it comes.”
Redman qualified for the Masters by winning the 2017 U.S. Amateur in August, becoming the eighth amateur to play in the tournament while still a Clemson student. In March, he played at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he made the cut and gained invaluable experience for what he will face today and Friday — at least — alongside golf’s best.
“Obviously, we’re extremely excited for Doc. He is a very special young man that works extremely hard at his craft, and he’s reaping the benefits of winning the U.S. Amateur,” Clemson coach Larry Penley said. “I think Bay Hill maybe knocked a little bit of the ginger off of it. He got a good taste of it, so I think he’ll be more prepared when he goes to Augusta.”
Augusta National is notorious for its tricky greens — something Redman has experienced before playing the hallowed course — but Clemson assistant coach Jordan Byrd, who will caddie for Redman, is pretty confident in the sophomore’s judgment when it comes to his putting.
“Doc is an extraordinary putter — he’s probably the best putter we’ve ever had, at least since I’ve been here,” said Byrd, who caddied at the Masters six years ago for former Tiger Corbin Mills. “So I probably wont be reading a lot of greens for him. I’m quite confident in his ability to do so.”
“The greens are unlike anything I’ve ever putted on,” Redman added. “It takes a lot of imagination, I think, especially around the greens when you’re chipping. You might feel like you’re in a bad position, but if you play it 20 feet right, it feeds down to the hole. When we’re out there, we’re just trying to get as much knowledge as we can. I think we’ll do a great job during the tournament reading the greens.”
Byrd said he hopes to help Redman slow down and enjoy the moment of playing on one of golf’s biggest stages, all while not getting too distracted by the extra-curricular events going on all week.
Redman, a native of Raleigh, N.C., has played in four tournaments so far this year for Clemson and has a 71.42 stroke average. He was a first-team freshman All-American last year and will play one more PGA tour event as an amateur at the Heritage in Hilton Head Island before rejoining the Clemson team for the ACC Championship April 20-22.
Redman is focused and excited for his first Masters appearance, and he feels his outing at the Arnold Palmer Invitational was a great precursor to what he’ll face today in Augusta.
Winning the tournament may not be the most prominent thing on Redman’s mind today, but he’s excited for everything he’s going to learn, especially playing alongside Garcia and Thomas.
“I’m just trying to do a few performance goals, really — hit some fairways, hit a few putting stats — things like that. Nothing really outcome-(wise),” Redman said. “I figure I’ll just go out there and try to play the best I can. Whatever happens happens. I’m just there to mostly learn — learn about my game, what I can improve and how it is out there.
“No matter what, it’ll be a success.”
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