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Thongchai Jaidee & Rory Sabbatini get Masters invites

Thai golfer Thongchai Jaidee and South African Rory Sabbatini received invitations to next week's Masters golf tournament while Canada's Stephen Ames said he will play here after all.

Ames qualified after winning the Players Championship on Sunday but said he planned to complete a scheduled family vacation. After talking to his wife and two sons, Ames reversed himself and said he will compete in his second Masters.

Augusta National Golf Club chairman Hootie Johnson announced Monday that 103 players have been invited to the year's first major golf championship, which begins April 6.

The list includes 45 players from outside the United States, five amateurs and 16 first-time Masters entrants.

Thongchai, 36, received a special invitation from the Masters committee. He was the first Thai to win a European PGA Tour event, taking the 2004 Malaysian Open, and has been among Asia's top three money winners five years in a row.

Sabbatini and Oberholser became the last qualifiers for Augusta in two ways, breaking into the world rankings top 50 and US PGA season money list top 10 in the week before the Masters.

Ames also met those criteria after winning the Players, whose champion automatically receives an invitation to the next three Masters tournaments.

The toughest near-miss among those failing to find their way into the field belonged to England's Greg Owen, who was listed 52nd in Monday's world rankings to barely miss the top-50 position needed to reach the Masters.

Owen would have cracked the top 50 had he won the Bay Hill Invitational on March 19, but he three-putted from 40 inches at the 17th hole and missed a 12-foot par putt at the 18th to hand South African Rod Pampling the victory.

Big-driving American John Daly, ranked 51st this week, received an invitation because he finished in the top 50 in last year's season-end ratings.

 

 




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