Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - With the season's first major in less than
two weeks, this past weekend was a key deadline for players hoping to get into
Anyone inside the 50 in the world rankings that were posted on Monday got into
the field at The Masters, if they were not already qualified.
Three players -- Henrik Stenson, Fredrik Jacobson and Richard Sterne -- earned
a spot at Augusta via the rankings.
Stenson, who shared second place at the Houston Open, had several players
fates in his hand. Thongchai Jaidee started the final round in Thailand in
second place, and a win could have moved him into the top 50. Jaidee did
himself in with a closing 72 that dropped him into 10th place.
Marcel Siem was in the lead at the European Tour event in Morocco. Had Jaidee
won, he would have gotten into the top 50, but Siem would have pushed him out
with a victory. In turn, Stenson could have done the same to Siem with a top
Siem cruised to victory in Morocco. Afterwards, he said, "That will be
unbelievable (to make The Masters). It's been my dream since I was a kid so if
that comes true it will be unbelievable. It would be wonderful to play The
Masters. I just want to be on that ground. I'm not going to cry, but it would
be very emotional."
Stenson, who has made the cut in four of his seven appearances at Augusta
National, fired a 66 to take second place in Houston. That easily moved him
into the top 50 in the rankings, and kept Siem from moving inside that number.
"It's been (on my mind) all week a little bit. As I said earlier in the week,
it's all about keeping my head down and doing my business and I know I have a
good chance to do it," Stenson said after taking second in Houston. "I put the
foundation down at Bay Hill last week, I finished tied for eighth and moved up
to 53rd in the world rankings. I knew a top 10 would pretty much make it
D.A. Points sat through a long weather delay, then returned to the course and
closed out the victory at the Houston Open. Points didn't get into the top 50
in the world, but the win was enough to get him to The Masters.
"I never thought that I wasn't going to make it," said Points of Augusta. "I
just thought this is an opportunity and just like next week, I signed up for
next week. I wasn't sure if I was going to go and then I thought well, I'm
playing pretty good this week. Let's see if I can kind of get on a little bit
of a roll, so I signed up for next week as well."
Points won't need to win this week's Texas Open, now. If the winner of the
Texas Open isn't already in the field for the Masters, he'll get in and be the
last player in the field.
The losers from the weekend were Jaidee, Siem, Geoff Ogilvy and Charles Howell
III. Ogilvy started last week ranked 50th in the world, but missed the cut in
Houston and fell to 55th in the rankings, so he'll miss the year's first
Howell closed with a 66 in Houston to grab a share of 10th, but that only got
him to 54th in the world. The Augusta native needed a tie for third or better
to get into the field at Augusta. Howell will miss The Masters for the fourth
time in the last five years.
The weekend's winners were clearly Points and Stenson. Points earned his
second trip to Augusta, while Stenson will play The Masters for the eighth
This week's Texas Open is the last chance to make it into the field at
Augusta. Among those playing well that could win, and get in, are Charlie
Beljan, Bud Cauley, Jordan Spieth and Cameron Tringale.
No pressure, guys.
KIM RETURNS TO THE SIGHT OF HER MAJOR HEARTBREAK
It was a simple tap in. Just a 1-foot putt. And she missed.
I.K. Kim could have kicked in the winning putt at the Kraft Nabisco
Championship last year. She left her birdie putt a foot away, and instead of
waiting for her playing partner to play out, she went ahead and putted out.
Unfortunately for Kim, it took two putts from just a foot away. Missing the
par putt dropped her into a playoff, which she lost to Sun Young Yoo.
Kim could have been crushed and not come back. She posted just one top-20
finish in her next seven events, but regrouped and managed to collect three
top-10 and six top-20 finishes the remainder of 2012.
The 24-year-old is coming off a runner-up finish at the Kia Classic, which was
her best finish since her heartbreaking loss at Mission Hills. Kim, who has
three top-13 finishes in four starts this season, hopes to atone for her
mistake this week.
In six full seasons on tour, she has 10 top-10 finishes in major
championships. If Kim can add a win to that total this week, she would erase
the demons from last year.
* Ivan Lendl and Petr Korda won nine grand slam titles between them on the
tennis courts. This week, their daughters Isabelle Lendl and Jessica Korda
will both tee it up at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Isabelle, who is a
senior at Florida, has seven amateur or collegiate titles to her name, while
Jessica won last year's Women's Australian Open. Isabelle is one of 10
amateurs playing the season's first major on the LPGA Tour.
* The PGA Tour has now had fourteen straight American winners to open the
season surpassing the run of 13 to start the 1989 season.
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