AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — For players trying to get into the top 50 for a Masters invitation, it was critical to get into the 64-man field at the Dell Technologies Match Play with big ranking points available in the final week to be eligible through the world ranking.
Trouble is, everyone from the top 66 — Adam Scott and Rickie Fowler are skipping — also is at Austin Country Club.
Eleven players in the field have yet to qualify for the Masters, and what's required of them at Match Play depends on their ranking. Russell Knox, Lee Westwood, Tom Lewis and Luke List likely will have to advance to Sunday's semifinals to break into the top 50.
Abraham Ancer and Chez Reavie likely would have to reach the quarterfinals, where players are assured a four-way tie for fifth.
Going into the week, the only current players in the top 50 not already eligible for the Masters are Shane Lowry (No. 48) and Justin Harding (No. 49). They might not have to advance from their groups to secure their positions, but winning or halving matches wouldn't hurt.
Others who are poised to make a move include Byeong Hun An, Andrew Putnam and Jim Furyk, who didn't even have the Masters in mind until his runner-up finish at The Players Championship moved him up more than 100 spots and into the Match Play field.
Harding and List are in the same group, while Lowry and Putnam also are in the same group.
Meanwhile, Sungjae Im closed with a 70 at Innisbrook last week and moved into a tie for fourth. That moved him up 13 spots to No. 59. Im is at the PGA Tour event in the Dominican Republic this week, which offers a minimum 24 points to the winner even with a weak field. He has a mathematical chance of getting into the top 50.
No one at the Hero Indian Open on the European Tour can get into the top 50.
No matter how it unfolds, Augusta National is assured of another small field, which is what the Masters wants to create the best experience for its guests. The field last year was 87, the smallest since 1997.
Currently, there are 84 players who have qualified and are expected to play.
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