Final Masters invites on the line in Texas

The field for the 2014 Masters in a fortnight’s time is all but sealed but the upcoming events in the State of Texas provide the last glimmers of hope for those on the outside looking in.

The third oldest event on the PGA Tour, the Valero Texas Open, will be played this week at the Greg Norman/Sergio Garcia-designed TPC San Antonio (AT&T Oaks) and is the final event by which players in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Rankings on March 31 can earn a place.

Stuart Appleby Stuart Appleby (Credit: Anthony Powter)

World No. 57 Chesson Hadley and No.63 Ryan Palmer are the highest ranked competitors not yet into Augusta who are in search of a good week to force their way into the Top 50.

26-year old Hadley won his first PGA Tour event earlier this month in Puerto Rico, however that event did not earn direct entry to The Masters as it was played opposite the WGC-Cadillac Championship.

Following the Texas Open, where Scotland’s Martin Laird will defend, the last available Masters invitation will be awarded to the winner of the following week’s Houston Open.

Phil Mickelson returns to the Texas Open for the first time in 22 years and is scheduled to play both Texas events to work into some much needed form ahead of Augusta. Local resident and three-time winner this season, Jimmy Walker, is an obvious threat to add a fourth title in his own backyard.

Of the Australians in the field, only recent Valspar Championship winner John Senden is headed to Augusta and the contingent of Robert Allenby, Stuart Appleby, Aaron Baddeley, Steven Bowditch, Greg Chalmers, Scott Gardiner and Geoff Ogilvy will all be looking to join him with a win this week.