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Jimenez, Sjoland added to Masters field

Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain and Patrik Sjoland of Sweden were offered invitations to the Masters today, making it the largest field at Augusta National in 23 years.

Jimenez, who won the Turespana Masters Sunday, finished fourth on the European tour's money list last year after winning twice. Sjoland, who will be making his Masters debut, won his first European tour event last year and finished fifth on the money list.

"Both men are very talented players," Augusta chairman Hootie Johnson said. "Both golfers finished among the top five last year on the European tour's Order of Merit and have competed successfully against the best players in the world. We are very happy to have them in our field."

The addition of Jimenez and Sjoland brings the total number of invitations to 104, which includes past champions such as Byron Nelson and Gene Sarazen. The 95 players expected to compete is the largest field since 103 played in 1966.

While Augusta National typically extends special invitations to international players at its discretion, that number dropped sharply this year when the Masters for the first time decided to invite the top 50 players from the world rankings.

Those in the top 50 at end of last year, and any others who made the top 50 last week after the Doral Open, received invitations.

Jimenez and Sjoland came close to getting into the Masters through the rankings over the past month.

Sjoland was 3-up with four hole to play against John Huston in the Match Play Championship until Huston rallied to beat him. Jimenez, needing a victory in the Portuguese Open two weeks ago, was three off the lead going into the final round and closed with a 76.

Jimenez will be playing in his second Masters. He missed the cut in 1995.