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Next generation of golfers perform well at The Masters

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A number of young golfers under the age of 30 had the spotlight on them during The Masters tournament at Augusta National Golf Club.

This was the first Masters weekend since 1994 that didn't include golf mega-legend Tiger Woods, who was injured, or fan favorite Phil Mickelson, who didn't make the cut. It gave the game a chance to look at its next group of stars.

In the spotlight during Sunday's final round was 25-year old Rickie Fowler, who finished in the top 10 last year in his third trip to Augusta.

"After the first three tournaments and practice rounds here, I feel like I'm able to go around this course with a little bit more feel instead of trying to calculate my way around at times," Fowler said.

Jason Day is just 26 and ranked fourth in the world. The young Australian had already posted two top 5 finishes at The Masters coming into this week.

"There's kind of a changing of the guard, the older guys are not moving away, they're still playing great golf, but the younger guys are stepping up a lot more and playing great golf," Day said.

Leading the pack is Rory McIlroy. While this wasn't the best week the 24-year old Irishman has had at The Masters, he's the only one of the group with two major titles on his resume.

"You've got these guys that are early to mid-20's that are coming through and doing well and it's great for the game of golf. It's great for the image of the game and I hope it will draw more people to golf," McIlroy said.

Twenty-year-old Jordan Spieth may be McIlroy's top competitor to be golf's next young superstar. Last year, the young Texan became the first teenage winner on the PGA Tour in 82 years, and showed he's a force to be reckoned with in his first inclusion in The Masters field.

"Mentally he's far beyond his years of 20. He plays like he's been out here for years, and I think that's what's most impressive," McIlroy said.

And what of Georgia's two young stars? Former Bulldogs Chris Kirk of Woodstock and Macon's Russell Henley are still in their 20s and both already have two wins on the PGA Tour.

"I love this tournament so much, and I love the golf course, and I think it suits my game really well. Playing some solid golf the first time was great, but I'm excited about the future," Kirk said. 

Bubba Watson won The Masters tournament, beating Spieth. The 35-year-old is now a two-time green jacket winner in three years.

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