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Why the highlight of Wyndham Clark’s week had nothing to do with his $2.2 million paycheck (Hint: it’s Masters-related)

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — In honor of Players Championship week on the PGA Tour and with a tip of the cap to Gary Koch’s most famous call here, Wyndham Clark’s last week was better than most.

Sure, the reigning U.S. Open champion drained a 26-foot birdie to win the B flight of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club & Lodge. That timely putt earned him $2.2 million for finishing a distant five strokes behind Scottie Scheffler, but the difference between a solo second and what otherwise would have been a T-2 with Shane Lowry was worth a cool $400,000. That alone would make for a very good week, right, and good work if you can get it.

But the highlight of Clark’s week had nothing to do with Arnie’s Place. To borrow the slogan of API presenting sponsor Mastercard, Clark’s best round of the week was priceless. His week, which began last Monday with an appearance at Wells Fargo Championship media day in Charlotte, soon got a whole lot better when Quail Hollow founder and Augusta National Golf Club member Johnny Harris flew with Clark — private, of course — to Augusta, Georgia, for his first trip around the famed Alister MacKenzie layout.

MORE: Wyndham Clark absolved of rules violation at Arnold Palmer Invitational, but not everyone agrees

“It was amazing,” Clark said. “That’s a place I always dreamed of playing at and then to do it with my dad and brother was awesome. We were walking the first couple of holes and we were just looking at each other and saying this is so cool.”

Clark already has plans to return to Augusta National with his caddie John Ellis after the Players and ramp up his preparation for his Masters debut next month.

“We’re going to play one fun round together, probably have a good bet, and then we’ll get down to business,” Clark said.

He’s not the only wide-eyed Masters rookie who has already made his maiden voyage around the course ranked third in Golfweek’s Best Classic Courses in the U.S. list. Nick Dunlap, the reigning U.S. Amateur champ and winner of The American Express in January, paid a visit late last month during the Mexico Open at Vidanta, playing for two days with another pair of first-timers Lee Hodges and Denny McCarthy and veteran Chris Kirk.

“In my opinion, it’s the most special place in the world as far as golf courses go,” Dunlap said. “There’s a different feeling about it and it took me a day and a half to where I would stop just looking around and be like, man, I’ve got to play golf here. There’s such an awe factor, I mean, just driving down Magnolia Lane and then the golf course is just perfect. It’s the most nervous I’ve been for a shot that means nothing. It’s just different.”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek