The West

Goss in seventh heaven at famous Augusta

As far as early birthday presents go, Oliver Goss has done all right this year.

The Royal Fremantle amateur, who turns 20 on Saturday, will tomorrow (WA time) make his US Masters debut, paired with 2008 winner Trevor Immelman and Canadian Graham DeLaet.

It's a moment Goss earned by being runner-up at the US Amateur Championship in August and one he has been dreaming of since he was a toddler hitting water balloons around the backyard with a pint-sized club.

In the week leading up to the tournament, Goss has played practice rounds with reigning champion Adam Scott, his self-confessed idol, and Jason Day.

In a diary kept for the Golf Australia website, Goss said watching Scott ply his trade on the famous Augusta National course was incredible.

"We chatted a little on the golf course today, but mostly I just observed where and how he hit the ball," he said.

"When he dropped a ball to hit a pitch, I did the same thing from the same spot. His ball striking is so good, as is his control. They are both on other levels."

Goss' family has travelled from Perth to see him play in the famous tournament.

The 19-year-old said it took a bit of getting used to the hype in the build-up and having so many spectators watch him practice.

"I have a very clear sense of what I wanted to practice on the course today, and that was mostly getting used to the crowds and the pressure of all the people here and being in the Masters," he said.

"My swing is there, and I am hitting it well on the range. But I have never played in front of so many people. I was incredibly nervous on the first tee, and I just swung away. Fortunately, I hit a good drive, to the left middle of the fairway, and then a seven-iron to about 10 feet.

"So, I got off to a good start. But it took me about six holes before I could really calm down."

Besides studying kinesiology at the University of Tennessee, where he is on a golf scholarship, Goss' focus has been entirely on the Masters since returning to the States from WA in January.

In an email exchange with _The West Australian _this week, Goss, the world No.15 amateur, said he was not going into the tournament with any specific goals.

"I don't want to put any added pressure on myself by putting goals and numbers into my head," he said.

"If I do that I will blow it before the tournament even starts, so basically I just want to … learn from the experience (but) I would like to make the cut and be low amateur."

The West Australian

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