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Last week to qualify for Masters

For Colombian rookie Camilo Villegas, the road to the Masters might end in the parking lot of the TPC at Sawgrass.

The Players Championship is the final week to qualify for the Masters, with the top 50 in the world ranking and top 10 on the PGA Tour money list getting invitations to Augusta National. Villegas tied for second in Phoenix and at Doral to move up to 15th, but he needs one more start.

Kenny Perry and Joey Snyder had to withdraw, leaving the field at 144 players. If anyone else withdraws, Villegas is the first alternate. Even if he gets in, Villegas likely will have to at least finish eighth.

Also on the bubble is another rookie, J.B. Holmes.

The winner of the FBR Open, Holmes was in the top 10 on the money list until Rod Pampling won last week at Bay Hill, bumping Holmes to No. 11 by about $52,000.

"I can't really focus on that," Holmes said. "If I get to play in the Masters this year, great. If not, I'm sure I'll make it in there before my career is over with. That would be something phenomenal to play."

Another player with the Masters on his mind is Greg Owen.

The Englishman could have secured an invitation last week with a win at Bay Hill, but he three-putted from 3 feet on the 17th hole Sunday and finished second. Even so, Owen moved up from No. 95 to No. 53, and while it depends on what happens around him, a top 25 at Sawgrass might be enough to get him into the top 50.

The Madeira Open on the European tour could affect the ranking, although the only person on the bubble playing there is Niclas Fasth, who is No. 56.

Anyone who can drop out of the top 10 on the money list or the top 50 in the world ranking already is eligible for the Masters in other categories.

March 22, 2006

 




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