Golf: Clovis West alum Michael Weaver awaits Masters trip

The Fresno BeeMarch 31, 2013 

Michael Weaver, the Cal golfer and former Clovis West High star, tries not to think too much about the upcoming Masters.

As the runner-up in last summer's U.S. Amateur, Weaver is just one of six amateur golfers who has qualified to play at the historic Augusta National Golf Club in less than two weeks.

Weaver, a collegiate All-America candidate, could be paired with past Masters champions such as Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson, or longtime veteran Tom Watson.

"I'm looking forward to it," Weaver said Sunday of playing in the Masters, which runs April 11-14.

But what Weaver doesn't want to do is get overly excited about what surely will be a memorable moment -- the rare chance for an amateur to compete against the world's best in the first major of the year before thousands in the gallery and thousands more on TV.

"As far as the golf part goes, I just want to treat it like any other tournament," Weaver said. "I don't want to start thinking about it too far ahead and get anxious. I don't want to build it up too much in my mind, have too high of expectations or put too much pressure on myself by thinking about it 24/7.

"It's the Masters and that's exciting. I just haven't attached a lot of emotion to it yet."

It probably helps Weaver that he already has been to the Masters, having watched as a fan with his father, Bill, in 2009 as his 18th birthday present.

Weaver's uncle lives in Atlanta and regularly has access to tickets. Weaver remembers seeing the large galleries, and the wave of fans who flocked to every hole to watch Woods and Mickelson paired together.

"To watch the Masters on TV all those years and then watch the Masters in person, it was really cool," Weaver said. "It's an experience every golfer wants to do. It's exciting to know I'll get to play in it."

Weaver, a junior who has been a key component to Cal holding the No. 1 national ranking, always has envisioned himself getting to play in the Masters once he goes pro.

He hopes this won't be his only chance to play in the tournament. Weaver just never thought the Augusta opportunity would come this soon.

Weaver's runner-up finish at the U.S. Amateur in Cherry Hills, Colo., also qualified him for the U.S. Open later this summer.

Weaver has stayed sharp throughout the college season while helping Cal win eight of nine tournaments. Though Weaver still is looking for his first win, he has finished in the top four five times.

"I've been playing pretty consistently lately, almost right there for a win a few times," Weaver said.

"My goal at the Masters is to make the cut and finish as the low amateur. And really, the only thing I'm expecting is to go out there and have fun, enjoy the experience and don't get too wrapped up in how I'm playing. But I do want to play well."

Weaver is expected to be joined by a group of 15 people, including his parents, swing coach and Cal golf coach Steve Desimone. Weaver plans to leave for Augusta on Saturday.

He said he has no preference which two pros he gets paired with. Weaver just hopes his nerves will calm down quickly once he gets used to playing in front of a crowd and alongside a couple of PGA golfers.

"Playing in front of the crowds, I've never really had a problem with," Weaver said. "Playing alongside someone like Phil Mickelson, that could be a different challenge. I'll find out soon enough what it's like.

"I just don't want to think about it too much yet."

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6362, bjanteola@fresnobee.com or @Banteola_TheBee on Twitter.

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