Sunday, Matias Dominguez was playing (and finishing 13th) in the Aggie Invitational college golf tournament in Bryan, Texas.
This week, Dominguez, a senior at Texas Tech, is playing in the Masters, where he is bunking down in the amateurs-only Crow’s Nest atop the Augusta National clubhouse.
“It’s the first experience you actually get at the Masters when I woke up (Monday) morning,” said Dominguez. “You walk down the stairs and see all the crowds and looking at the players tee off. It’s really special to be able to experience that.”
Dominguez, who is from Santiago, Chile, qualified for the Masters by winning the Latin American Amateur Championship in 2015. He’s the second Chilean to play in the Masters, following Enrique Orellana, who didn’t make the cut in his only appearance in 1964.
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Dominguez said he recently met Orellana.
“He said it’s totally different times from when he played, but he said to try to enjoy it and have fun,” said Dominguez. “Just try and learn the most out of it. You’re going to be put in positions where you’ve never been before, and (what) you learn out of it is the best you’re going to be through it.”
Later Sunday, Dominguez drove from Lubbock to Houston, where he caught a special flight to Augusta with other players who had played in last week’s Houston Open. They arrived in Augusta at 10 p.m. Sunday.
“We were at the airport, saying, ‘Look, here is this or that guy. There’s players all over the place,’” said Dominguez.
Erik Compton is one of several former Georgia Bulldogs players playing in the Masters – along with Bubba Watson, Russell Henley, Brendan Todd, Chris Kirk and Brian Harman.
“We all root for each other,” said Compton, who is playing in his first Masters after finishing second at last year’s U.S. Open at Pinehurst. “We all have our own schedule but are happy to be part of the Georgia golf team.”
Compton has had two heart transplants, his first when he was 12 and most recently in 2008. He’s involved with an organization called “Donate Life,” which raises awareness about organ, eye and tissue donation.
“When I was growing up, I didn’t have many people to look up to (who) had transplants,” said Compton. “Now with the (transplant) community growing and people seeing being able to see that I’m able to walk up these hills and compete at a high level, I think it’s just great for everyone.”
The biggest crowd of the day followed Tiger Woods during his practice round, which started at the relatively late hour of 4:20 p.m. Woods hit his first drive left off the No. 1 tee, but recovered with an approach shot that landed within about 10 feet of the hole. He made the birdie putt.
Drive, Chip & Putt
Winners of Sunday’s Drive, Chip & Putt competition at Augusta National: girls 7-9, Effie Perakis, Glenview, Ill.; girls 10-11, Lydia Swan, North East, Pa.; girls 12-13, Morgan Goldstein, Las Vegas; girls 14-15, Alexandra Swayne, Maineville, Ohio; boys 7-9, Jay Leng, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.; boys 10-11, Jake Peacock, Alpharetta, Ga.; boys 12-13, George Duangmanee, Fairfax, Va.; boys 14-15, Toby Wilson, Bartlett, Tenn.
Scott: 704-358-5889; Twitter: @davidscott14