AUGUSTA — The kids don’t seem to be afraid of the Masters.
Led by Patrick Cantlay and Hideki Matsuyama, who each shot 1 under 71s in Thursday’s first round, four of the five college-aged amateurs have a shot at not only making the cut, but of giving ESPN and CBS even bigger ratings by competing for the green jacket. They trail leader Lee Westwood by four shots and don’t seem to be intimidated by the course’s history, length or degree of difficulty.
Asked if he thinks he can stay on the leaderboard all four rounds, Cantlay didn’t hesitate to answer.
“I think so,” said Cantlay, a UCLA student who can draw from the experience of being the low amateur at last year’s U.S. Open.
Joining them are Corbin Mills and Kelly Kraft, who each shot 2 over. Kraft, who qualified by defeating Cantlay for the 2011 U.S. Amateur Championship, tied Westwood for the best four-hole stretches of anyone on Thursday. He ran off four consecutive birdies on Nos. 12-15. Though Kraft