Catching a glimpse of Augusta

Published 8:40 am Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Magnolia Lane, Amen Corner, the Eisenhower tree and the Green Jacket will all be in front of USC sophomore Sam Gackstetter’s eyes next weekend.

Gackstetter, a member of the boys’ golf team, will make the pilgrimage to golf’s Mecca next weekend to watch The Masters tournament at Augusta National.

It couldn’t be a better trip for a golf enthusiast like Gackstetter.

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“I’ve always wanted to go,” Gackstetter said.

He was afforded the opportunity after a friend of his father won a raffle for tickets to The Masters.

His family will all make the trip down to Augusta, Ga.

Gackstetter has immersed himself in golf, playing everyday during the summer and reading Golf Digest and any other golf publication cover to cover whenever he can. In fact, he’s geared school projects around golf. He did a report on a Tiger Woods book once.

Of course, Woods will be at the top of his list of golfers he’d like to see during the three days he’ll be there, but he mostly wants to see every part of the course, he said.

He also looks forward to the opportunity of watching how the pros play, their preparation and concentration throughout a round, he said.

Gackstetter has been playing golf nearly since the time he was old enough to walk and played in a number of junior PGA events last summer.

He made his first individual appearance at the section tournament last season as a freshman. He’d like to get back there again this season and get into the state tournament as well.

Gackstetter shot a 91 at the section tournament last season after advancing through the subsection tournament. He’s been meticulous with his game during the summer and won a junior PGA event this past summer at Dodge Center.

This season will be a lot different for Gackstetter as he moves into the No. 1 spot for the Rebels after the team graduated Alex Pederson.

Watching the pros before the season starts will only serve as motivation for a young golfer like Gackstetter.