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'It's going to be a bit surreal'; Hoge's Masters journey sticks out to local golf pros

The Fargo South alum tees off on Thursday morning at 11:35 at Augusta National Golf Club.

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Tom Hoge hits a tee shot on Tuesday, May 12, during the Bell Bank 2020 Play It Forward Golf Challenge at the Fargo Country Club. David Samson / The Forum

FARGO — Suite Shots opening made owner Mark Johnson have to change his plans for watching Tom Hoge play in the Masters.

"I told him, 'If you end up at the Masters, I'm there, I'm watching,'" Johnson said. "But it coincided with opening this facility, so I can't be there."

"He doesn't need me there. He'll be great," Johnson added through a bit of laughter.

Johnson has seen firsthand the beauty of Augusta National Golf Club many times in the past. Even with multiple trips, he says it never gets old.

"It's pristine," Johnson said.

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The course also provides a challenge at every turn, something Johnson knows Hoge is already well-prepared for.

"People don't realize how big the elevation changes are and then the greens are so fast that it takes a special week of ball striking and putting to have success there," he said.

Fargo Country Club head golf professional Dave Schultz won't need to leave his office to see Hoge play.

"I got the big TV right here, so I'll be at work," he said. "For me, watching golf is kind of work so it works out well."

A fellow Fargo golf product and Texas Christian University alum, Schultz has seen Hoge, whether playing with him or watching him, battle through plenty of adversity to get to this point.

"It's the culmination of a lot of years of hard work and dedication," he said.

From what he's watched in numerous Masters throughout his life, Hoge's game fits right in at Augusta.

"You don't have to drive a ball super perfect to play well, and Tom hits it better than pretty much everybody else on tour," Schultz said.

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They have a few predictions, but they guarantee when Hoge tees off Thursday morning at 11:35, they will be glued to a television watching the player they've followed and played with for so many years.

"It's got to be real satisfying for him to be walking the grounds at Augusta, playing practice rounds and getting ready to compete," Schultz said.

"It's the smallest field in golf when you talk about the number of the top golfers in the world," Johnson said. "It's going to be a bit surreal to watch him tee off and follow him."

Related Topics: TOM HOGEGOLFBOYS GOLF
Zach Staton joined WDAY as a sports reporter in 2018. He grew up in Salem, Virginia loving any sport he could play or watch. Staton graduated from Bridgewater College with a degree in Communication Studies before getting his Master's in Broadcast and Digital Journalism with a Sports Communication Emphasis from Syracuse University.
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