EDDIE Pepperell will play alongside a former Masters champion when he makes his Augusta debut this afternoon.

South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel, who won in 2011, is in the Abingdon golfer’s group for the opening two rounds.

Charles Howell III, from the United States, completes the line-up which will start their campaigns at 2.47pm (BST).

The trio are among the later starters on Friday (5.43pm), so will have a good idea of what score is required to make the cut.

While the Georgia course has a tough reputation, Pepperell is aiming to enjoy himself.

The 28-year-old, a member at Frilford Heath, said: “It will hopefully be hard in the right way.

“I’ve been told it’s fun and as long as it is then it doesn’t really matter how you get on because you can appreciate the place for what it is. Lots can happen, eagle chances but also double bogeys. It’s nice to play a course like that.

“Every time you step on the first tee you think you could shoot a low one, or things might not go your way. That’s exciting.

“As always I just want to make sure my game’s in good shape coming into the Thursday and then I think a lot of things can happen.”

Pepperell warmed up for today by finishing in a tie for 12th in the annual Par 3 contest at Augusta.

He carded a one-under-par 26 in the pre-Masters mini-tournament yesterday, where players often choose family members to serve as their caddies.

Pepperell was joined by his brother Joe, head professional at Oxford Golf Club, and missing out on victory may have been a master stroke.

No winner of the Wednesday event has gone on to triumph in the main tournament, but playing partner Matt Wallace was in no mood to think about the Par 3 curse.

He made history by making the 100th hole-in-one at the contest, before beating Sandy Lyle in a sudden-death play-off.