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

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

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.”