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Neal Shipley makes Pittsburgh proud with Masters performance

Ireland Contracting Nightly Sports Call: April 15, 2024
Ireland Contracting Nightly Sports Call: April 15, 2024 17:22

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Neal Shipley made his hometown proud with his performance at the Masters this past weekend. 

The Mt. Lebanon native and Central Catholic graduate made headlines this weekend and likely made some new fans while making the most of his opportunity to play Augusta National. 

Heading into the tournament, Shipley's mother, Susie, said that he was feeling calm and collected and she was right, as he got off to a good start and shot an under-par round of 71 on Thursday.

While things didn't go quite as well on Friday, Neal was the only amateur in the field to make the cut, and did so with longtime friend and fellow college golfer Carter Pitcairn caddying for him.

The Masters - Round Three
AUGUSTA, GEORGIA - APRIL 13: Amateur Neal Shipley of the United States and his caddie line up a shot from the fourth tee during the third round of the 2024 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 13, 2024 in Augusta, Georgia. / Getty Images

Things unraveled a bit for him on with a difficult 'moving day' on Saturday as he carded six bogeys and one double bogey, shooting a third-round score of 80. 

But the reward for the suboptimal third round? A tee time alongside a living legend with none other than Tiger Woods -- and Neal says that it made for a special time at his Masters debut.

"You know, playing with Tiger, Sunday at the Masters, and the whole week, I think I'd have to win of these things to kind of top this week," Shipley said. "It's definitely been a dream week. 

The Masters - Final Round
AUGUSTA, GEORGIA - APRIL 14: Amateur Neal Shipley of the United States (L) and Tiger Woods of the United States shake hands on the 18th green after finishing their round during the final round of the 2024 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 14, 2024 in Augusta, Georgia. Andrew Redington / Getty Images

Shipley bounced back in his final round on Sunday, shooting a one-over par score of 73, making four birdies in front of a huge gallery of patrons who may have been there to see Tiger but certainly were cheering on Neal, also.

Neal said after his final round on Sunday that the ups and downs of his playing career to this point have led him to be able to succeed like he did at the Masters.

"It's certainly been quite the journey," Shipley said. "It's been a lot of hard work put into that and there's been a lot of lows along the journey, but I've been really proud of myself with how I've kind of rolled with the punches throughout the years and kept working and striving for goals like this." 

Shipley's winning of the Silver Cup as the low amateur at the Masters earned him some time inside Butler Cabin with Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm, Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley, and Jim Nantz.

With all of the golf world watching, Neal made a point to mention how he was going to savor the opportunities he had.

"This week is gonna be one of the best weeks of my life and something that I remember forever, especially being able to play with Tiger." Shipley said. "Just the whole week in general. The members were phenomenal all week in hosting us and thank you, Mr. Ridley, for having a great tournament."

Shipley's chances to shine on golf's largest stages aren't over just yet, however, as he will be back in action this summer when he plays in the U.S. Open at Pinehurst, with his exemption into the tournament stemming from his runner-up performance at the U.S. Amateur last summer. 

All of Pittsburgh will certainly be cheering on their native son when he is back in the spotlight. 

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