Meet the tattooed amateur keeping pace with the pros who could win 2023 Masters

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    Surprise package Sam Bennett heads into this weekend firmly in contention and aims to become the first amateur to win the Masters.

    The 23-year-old sits on seven-under par after the opening two rounds and four shots behind runaway leader Brooks Koepka. Bennett won the US Amateur championship last year earning a place in the Masters and Open Championship.

    The youngster went below the radar after making the cut at last year's US Open before finishing tied for 49th – but has made his mark this week at Augusta National.

    The Texan from Madisonville was guided by his father into golf from a young age before being given a college scholarship at Texas A&M.

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    His father Mark was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease when he was in college and died when he was still young.

    Bennett has an extra incentive for Masters success with a tattoo on his left forearm which reads: "Don't wait to do something." His father had said the phrase to him while suffering from Alzheimer's and then wrote it down when requested by his son.

    "I look at it a lot. It was the last words [my father] said before he passed," said Bennett talking to Sky Sports. "I call on it a bunch and look for a little motivation.

    "I've used it to stay focused and really be locked in to that one shot. [Looking at the tattoo] is like a new pre-shot routine that I do now right before I'm about to hit it.

    "He has got a good view looking down at Augusta National and I know he is thrilled. I wish he could be here but he is happy, I know he is.

    "He was the reason I started playing golf. I wanted to be good to impress him. I'm not waiting to do something this week."

    Bennett also has several other tattoos including five birds for his family members and the Methodist cross to represent his faith.

    The natural sportsman also played baseball for Madisonville High School in his youth, but is now a rising golf star who has taken Augusta by storm.

    Bennett proved that his first round score of 68 was no fluke by repeating the score on Friday and remains in contention heading into the weekend just four shots off the lead.

    "This is right where I want to be," he added. "I like where I stand. I think I can win. I sit here with a chance to do something special. I know that my good golf is good enough.

    "I am playing really well and I think I have got what it takes. I love hitting shots in front of people and making putts when it matters. I think I have a good chance. Now it's time for me to go out and enjoy it, soak it all in.

    "That was incredible. I think a lot of people didn't think I was going to be able to back it up [in round two] but I went out there with the same game plan and I hit a lot of solid shots and put myself in a great position."


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