Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Holtgrieve: Out of Gallery into Game

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Holtgrieve: Out of Gallery into Game

Article excerpt

Jim Holtgrieve is proof positive lightning does strike twice in the same place. It struck him for the second time on Thursday morning at Augusta National.

Holtgrieve, a St. Louis resident and longtime amateur golf standout, was outside the first tee, getting ready to watch amateur friend George "Buddy" Marruci, Jr., tee off with Arnold Palmer when Rules Committee Chairman Will Nicholson tapped him on the shoulder.

"He said, `Hey, Jim, do you have your clubs with you, do you want to play?' I looked at him and said, `What are you talking about, now?' " said Holtgrieve, 48. "He said, `Yeah, get your clubs.' I didn't know what to think." More importantly, he had no time to think. Peter Jacobsen, who pulled a muscle in his left side on Wednesday, had to pull out of the tournament two minutes before his tee time. Frank Nobilo, who was paired with Jacobsen, was forced to tee off alone. Enter Holtgrieve. The former U.S. Mid-Amateur champion ran to the car, secured his clubs, hopped in a cart and was transported to join Nobilo, 35, on the third tee as a non-competing marker. Each competitor, according to USGA rules, is supposed to have a playing partner mark his score. A rules official marked Nobilo's score for the initial two holes. Just like that, Holtgrieve went from patron to participant in the 60th Masters. And his host was glad to see him. "I didn't want to play alone," said Nobilo, who had an opening-round 71. "You need someone to play off of, to watch and read putts, to talk to. When someone drops out it's always very disruptive. "I felt sorry for Jim, really, and I thanked him after the round for what he did. It would be awfully hard to stand up their cold on the third hole of the Masters and tee off. I give him all the credit for doing that. He was great." Amazingly, it was the second time in less than a year Holtgrieve participated in one of golf's major championships on one of its most revered venues. Last July, he played as a marker in the 1995 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills. On that occasion, he played with John Daly on Saturday and with Joe Gullion on Sunday. At Shinnecock, Holtgrieve knew a day ahead of time and had a chance to hit practice balls. …

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