Matthew McClean wanted screenshot of leaderboard after ‘flying’ start to Masters

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The 29-year-old amateur from Northern Ireland led early on but ended up signing for a 77.
Posted on
April 6, 2023
The Editorial Team in ,
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Northern Irish amateur Matthew McClean admitted he wanted to take a picture of the leaderboard after finding his name on top of it on his Masters debut.

The 29-year-old optometrist, who secured his place at Augusta National by winning the US Mid-Amateur Championship, was in the second group out on Thursday morning and enjoyed a dream start with a birdie on the first.

McClean then parred the second and third before another birdie on the fourth took him to two under par and into a two-shot lead.

“I probably deep down would have been happy with the start I had, I was flying there,” said McClean, who eventually signed for a 77.

“But to be disappointed with five over in the first round is probably the sign of I actually played pretty well. It was a tough finish out there, but I played much better than that and pretty happy with how I played.

“I’d like to see the second shot to the first actually. It must have been close (to going in).

“I was joking after the fourth I would take a screenshot of the leaderboard there, leading the Masters.

“Obviously I wasn’t thinking that I was going to shoot six, seven under, I was just trying to play each hole. But I’m sort of happy with how I felt the whole way around.

Matthew McClean
Matthew McClean watches his tee shot on the seventh hole during the first round of the 87th Masters (Jae C. Hong/AP)

“I hit my first tee shot about 50 yards right on Monday in the practice round, so to stand up and birdie the first was great. I probably felt a lot better than I expected to, to be honest. It was good day.

“It was a good sort of good stepping stone I think for the rest of the year. I’ve got the US Open in June and a few big tournaments throughout the summer.

“Have to play well in those to make the Walker Cup and then I’ll see where I lie in September as to whether or not I’ll do anything further.”

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