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One method to earn invitation to the Masters Tournament is to secure a top-50 position in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) by the cut of date – in this instance, 28 March.
Prior to the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, there were a number of players who’s Augusta National fate was not yet sealed. Thomas Pieters (No.34), Harold Varner III (40), Seamus Power (41), Russell Henley (42) and Cameron Young (47) have now all officially secured their invitation and the right compete on the hallowed grounds.
In the case of Pieters and Varner, it was all but a formality that they would tee it up at Augusta. Pieters' long-awaited victory at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship propelled him inside the top-50 and it was a similar story for Varner, who secured Saudi International triumph with a 100-foot putt on the final green. Varner will now make his Masters debut. Whilst Henley didn’t enter the winner’s circle, he gained his security through a string of consistent performances; including a second place finish to Hideki Matsuyama at the Sony Open in Hawaii and a T13 at the Players Championship.
Power entered the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play knowing he needed a solid performance in order to secure his place, and that he did. Entering the week at 48th in the OWGR, the Irishman made it out of the group phase and earned enough points to secure a Masters debut. Unlike Power, Young failed to progress from the group stage at Austin Country Club but maintained inside the top-50 in the OWGR and will also make his debut at Augusta National.
Richard Bland continued his impressive run of form but looks set to miss out on his dream of playing the Masters after coming up just short of the qualifying criteria. The 49-year-old moved to a career-high 53 in the OWGR after he defeated Lee Westwood and halved with Bryson DeChambeau. The Englishman fell in the round of 16 and must win this week’s Valero Texas Open in order to make his debut.
Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler and Ian Poulter are among the big names missing The Masters as it stands. Mickelson continues his sabbatical, in which it was rumoured he was 'told or strongly encouraged' not to take part, whilst Fowler and Poulter know they need a victory this week.
James joined Golf Monthly having previously written for other digital outlets. He is obsessed with all areas of the game – from tournament golf, to history, equipment, technique and travel. He is also an avid collector of memorabilia; with items from the likes of Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Adam Scott and Ernie Els. As well as writing for Golf Monthly, James’ golfing highlight is fist bumping Phil Mickelson on his way to winning the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013. James grew up on the east coast of England and is the third generation of his golfing family. He now resides in Leeds and is a member of Cobble Hall Golf Club with a handicap index of 1.7. His favourite films are The Legend of Bagger Vance and Tin Cup.
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