Kelly Kraft had no room for error on the 18th green at the Masters on Friday.
Kraft needed to make at least a bogey on the par-4 final hole to make the cut and faced an eight-foot putt on his fifth shot.
The Ryan graduate rolled it in to cap a clutch performance over the final few holes at Augusta National.
Kraft shot a 3-over-par 75, following up the 74 he shot in the first round.
When Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and golf legends like Fred Couples are on the course battling for the title in the first major of the year, Kraft will be right there with them. He will be the first player to tee off at 8:15 a.m. today.
Kraft passed up the chance to turn professional after winning the U.S. Amateur specifically to have a chance to play in the Masters on the exemption that came with the title. He played the traditional Par 3 Contest before the tournament with fiancee Tia Gannon carrying his bag.
“This is the main prize, right here,” Kraft told reporters before the start of the tournament. “This is what I stayed amateur for, to play in this thing. It’s been great so far.”
It has only gotten better.
Kraft began the second round in position to make the cut but bogeyed four of the first 11 holes he played, including the par-4 11th.
Kraft needed to rally to get back above the cut line and made his run in the same place he got on a roll in the first round — the back nine. The former SMU standout made four straight birdies beginning at the 12th hole of the first round.
Kraft didn’t do quite as well in that stretch in the second round, but he did pick up a birdie on the par-3 12th. He then birdied the 16th, another par-3, to get to 4 under heading into what was a troublesome spot for him in the first round.
Kraft bogeyed both the 17th and 18th holes in the first round and couldn’t afford a repeat.
He parred the par-4 17th, which gave him a one-shot cushion heading to the 18th, a famous 465-yard par 4.
The uphill dogleg-right hole nicknamed “Holly” has the course’s sixth-highest scoring average since 1934, according to Golf Week, and has been the site of golf history.
Arnold Palmer birdied the hole to edge Ken Venturi in 1960 in one of the more famous finishes in Masters history.
Kraft wasn’t playing for a championship. He was playing for the right to continue playing and bogeyed the hole. That was just good enough to keep him around for two more rounds.