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UNC men's golf athlete Austin Greaser competing in the 2022 Masters

Greaser at Duke 2019 (Mead).02.JPG

UNC men's golf player Austin Greaser at Duke in 2019.
Photo Courtesy of Ike Bryant.

Augusta National Golf Course — known for its beautiful greenery — will have a streak of Carolina blue on its grassy pastures this April.

At the site where legends are made and legacies are cemented, an exclusive club of the world’s greatest golfers will compete for the coveted Green Jacket and a cemented legacy on the sport’s grandest stage: the Masters. 

And this year, a Tar Heel is in the race. 

Junior Austin Greaser of the North Carolina men’s golf team is representing himself, his team and the University amidst the company of names such as Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods at the Masters. 

And despite the magnitude of it all, he’s going in with full confidence and attention to detail. 

“As less arrogant as I can say this, this is where I pictured myself playing,” Greaser said. 

Greaser earned his spot after finishing second in the 2021 U.S. Amateur at Oakmont Country Club behind another Masters participant, James Piot. With a bid to the Masters at stake, Greaser stayed intensely focused on executing his game plan in that tournament — the mindset which he accredited for getting him this far. 

“I got too ingrained in what I was doing — too ingrained in my routine, so ingrained in trying to get my ball in the hole to really worry about the prizes,” Greaser said. 

With the possibility of winning a Green Jacket looming, Greaser is approaching the Masters the same way and plans on not letting the implications of the moment take his head out of the game. 

He has played the course numerous times — getting “comfortable” and understanding how he will play it from a strategic standpoint. 

“(I’m) doing everything and every preparation I feel like I need to do to win,” Greaser said. “In my head, I have just as good of a shot to win as anybody.”

Yet, the implications of competing in the Masters goes beyond just winning — it’s also about the impact this experience will have on the UNC golf program and Greaser’s own self-improvement. 

Weeks ago, head coach Andrew DiBitetto and Greaser shared a moment in Augusta while they were looking out from the first tee and Greaser asked, “When you got into coaching, did you ever think you’d have this moment?” 

DiBitetto answered, “No,” but the question created the perspective that Greaser’s opportunity could come for anybody, especially those following his lead on the UNC golf team. 

“Seeing him out there competing — especially wearing like the Carolina logo — it’s a special thing and definitely motivating for us to go out there and maybe do it ourselves,” sophomore Peter Fountain said. “It’s also huge for the program in general. Definitely brings up a bigger buzz to Carolina golf.”

For Greaser, the bigger picture for the weekend is having fun and growing from the experience, regardless if he does or doesn’t put on the Green Jacket.

“I want to come out of it and learn a lot of things about myself,” Greaser said. “I want to learn how to stack up against the best. I want to learn what I need to work on in my game moving forward, and I want to learn on what I need to do to get back here as fast as I can."

Greaser was paired with 2003 Masters champion Mike Weir and three-time major winner Padraig Harrington in group two on Thursday. The group had a tee time of 8:11 a.m. 

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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