– Sammy Schmitz, the amateur from Farmington who qualified for the Masters last summer by winning the U.S. Mid-Amateur, will play with Cameron Smith and 2003 Masters champion Mike Weir in the first two rounds of the tournament.

The group will tee off at 10:16 a.m. Central time Thursday and be the first group on the course Friday, teeing off at 7:20 a.m.

Schmitz already has a large contingent following him around Augusta National. He has played practice rounds Thursday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. On Friday, the course was so rain-soaked he went to another course to work on the range.

He has also played the Augusta Par-3 course.

Among those following him are his coach, Joe Greupner of Braemar; his college coach, Bob Alpers of St. John’s; his wife, Natalie; and a group of friends and colleagues.

More family members will be at the course Wednesday, when he will play in the Par-3 tournament.

Schmitz, 35, decided not to stay in the Crow’s Nest, the attic of the Augusta National clubhouse where many rookies are allowed to sleep, choosing to spend time with his family.

Schmitz wants to become the first Mid-Am champion to make the Masters cut, and he struck the ball well for the most part Tuesday, even hitting a remarkable recovery shot from the trees to the right of the seventh fairway, giving himself a birdie putt.

“Everything has been amazing,” Schmitz said.

JIM SOUHAN