published Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Tennessee Vols' Oliver Goss, Garrick Porteous in Masters

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    University of Tennessee golfer Oliver Goss will be playing in the Masters tournament this week as a result of his runner-up finish in the 2013 U.S. Amateur.
    Photo by C. B. Schmelter.
    enlarge photo

Rickie Fowler's popsicle orange will not be the only shade of orange contrasting with the pinks, purples, yellows, reds and overwhelming greens at the Masters.

There will be a couple tints of Tennessee orange as well.

Volunteers sophomore Oliver Goss and recent graduate Garrick Porteous will be competing as amateurs after earning invitations through their respective successes in the U.S. Amateur and the British Amateur.

"That will be pretty exciting stuff for all of us," Vols golf coach Jim Kelson said as his team prepared to play this past weekend in the Augusta State Invitational. "It's a thrill for them and a thrill for us."

Goss, who grew up in Australia, finished runner-up in the U.S. Amateur to Northwestern University's Matt Fitzpatrick of England, 4 and 3 at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.

Porteous, who hails from England, won the British Amateur 6 and 5 over Finland's Toni Hakula.

Those results earn invitations to Augusta National.

"There has been and there will be more visibility than either two have had in their lives," Kelson said. "Those guys have done, and will do, a good job of handling that."

Goss already has been paired with two of the best players in the world in a professional tournament. In the 2012 Australian Masters he approached the first tee alongside 2010 U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell and Adam Scott -- about six months before Scott won the Masters in Augusta.

"Adam won that Australian Masters, then the U.S. Masters," Goss said over the phone Friday. "I was with him on a big stage."

With a professional friendship formed through their Australian roots, Goss had a clear favorite to root for in last year's Masters -- Scott.

On that Sunday last April, for the final round, Goss planned to knock out an assignment and then join his teammates to watch at least the last nine holes at Augusta.

But he became distracted. The words and numbers weren't flowing to his computer. He didn't have writer's block -- he had a Scott-block.

"I couldn't stop watching the TV," Goss said. "I couldn't get the assignment done, so instead of joining my teammates, I watched it in my dorm room.

"I was going nuts. [Scott] hit the putt on 18 to force a playoff."

Then Scott won the playoff, making him the first Australian to win the Masters.

"I was going ballistic the whole time," Goss said. "Incredible."

How'd the assignment turn out?

"I can't even remember what class it was for," Goss said. "But I probably got a 'B.'"

He earned an "A" for earning an invitation to the Masters. He is the first active UT golfer, according to Kelson, to play in the Masters since Eric Rebmann in 1988 after being the 1997 U.S. Amateur runner-up.

"Everything is going to be exciting, and something new is going to happen every day," said Goss, who planned to play a practice round today with Scott. "The week is going to be an incredible experience and something that you're never going to forget."

He'll go through the week sporting colors of his native country and colors of his college.

"I plan on wearing a little orange out there every day," Goss said. "I've got a UT head cover on my driver, and my 3-wood has a 'Smokey' head cover."

Tennessee orange and Augusta green is a good color combination for Goss.

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or423-757-6484. Follow him at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.

about David Uchiyama...

David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...

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