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Kuchar was quick to defend his school when asked to assess why so many young Georgia Bulldog players such as Henley, Harris English and even defending Masters champion Bubba Watson are excelling on tour.

“I’d like to say that Georgia Tech has got about as many alumni out here as possible,” he said with a smile.

Kuchar fell in love with this event because of the amateur experience conceived by golf’s greatest amateur, tournament co-founder Bobby Jones.

Jones, an Atlanta native, designed Augusta National with architect Alister MacKenzie and the Masters began in 1934. By then, Jones’ championship days were past and he never finished better than 13th in 12 career appearances.

Kuchar felt Jones’ aura throughout the grounds 15 years ago in his debut here, from staying in the amateur’s only “Crow’s Nest” clubhouse loft to the amateur dinner and interacting with the gracious Southern galleries.

“You really feel like this tournament is for you, as an amateur,” Kuchar recalled. “This is what it’s supposed to be. … Bobby Jones designed it with amateurs in mind and they couldn’t wait to have some amateurs have some real success.”

Kuchar, who qualified as the U.S. Amateur champion, gave everyone a thrill with his week at Augusta National. He was paired with then one-time and defending Masters champion Tiger Woods and wound up the low amateur, a feat he repeated later that year with a tie for 14th at the U.S. Open.

Kuchar has grown with his game and comes in expecting to contend after last year’s tie for third.

Henley hopes he makes an immediate mark on Augusta National and fulfill the dream of wearing the green jacket, something he’s thought about since learning the game in Macon.

“I’ve dreamed about playing in this tournament. I’ve dreamed about winning on the PGA Tour and I’ve accomplished both of those,” Henley said. “I’ve got a lot more on the list.”

Henley doesn’t want to think too far down Magnolia Lane, though, but can’t always help imagining victory here. “It would be very special,” he said.