The field for the Masters Tournament is almost set but there remains the opportunity for those players without an invite to guarantee their spot by winning the Valero Texas Open on the PGA TOUR this week.
For some DP World Tour members, including Rory McIlroy and Guido Migliozzi, the event at TPC Antonio provides one final chance for tournament action ahead of the first Major Championship of the season.
But for several yet to receive their invite to Augusta National Golf Club, victory is a necessity to secure their spot unless they receive a special invite.
From European Ryder Cup Captain Henrik Stenson to British Masters champion Richard Bland, here are those still targeting Masters qualification…
Bland reached the last 16 at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin last week in his debut at the event, topping a group that included 2020 U.S. Open Champion Bryson DeChambeau.
However, defeat to Dustin Johnson denied him the chance to break into the top 50 on the Official World Golf Ranking and dented his chances of securing a maiden spot at the Masters.
World Number 53 Bland, who finished runner-up at the Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic in January, the second Rolex Series event on the 2022 DP World Tour, will now aim to continue his late-career renaissance and seal a remarkable debut appearance at the Masters at the age of 49 with victory in Texas.
Thank you from the bottom of my ❤️ for all the support & messages this week! To all involved @DellMatchPlay for making it a unforgettable week for me. To all the fans out there cheering me on ❤️unfortunately DJ just to strong this morning 😏 pic.twitter.com/wPLyxtVAik— Richard Bland (@blandy73) March 26, 2022
Donald, who spent numerous periods as World Number One between May 2011 until August 2012, has not played at the Masters since 2015.
The Englishman first played at Augusta in 2005, when he recorded his best result of tied third, before making ten further appearances in consecutive years.
Now aged 44, Donald finished tied 16th at the PGA TOUR’s Valspar Championship earlier this month and will be looking to build on that in Texas this week.
Højgaard, 21, secured his spot at the Valero Texas Open with a sixth place finish at the Corales Puntacana Championship last week.
After an opening 73, he shot three consecutive 67s on his way to his first-ever PGA TOUR top ten in his first start of the season.
The Dane, already a three-time winner on the DP World Tour, is vying for a first appearance at the Masters as he closes in on a return to the world’s top 100.
Like Donald, Northern Ireland’s McDowell made his Masters debut in 2005 and has since gone on to make nine further appearances.
The 2010 U.S. Open Champion’s best performance at Augusta came in 2012 when he finished tied 12th, the same year in which he finished tied fifth at The Open Championship and tied second at the U.S. Open.
So far in the 2021-22 PGA TOUR campaign, McDowell’s best result came at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship when he tied for 12th.
Poulter has built a reputation for delivering under pressure, notably on the Ryder Cup stage, but has experience for winning the week before the Masters to earn a late spot in the field.
In 2018, Poulter won the Houston Open after forcing a play-off against Beau Hossler by holing a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th green.
The Englishman has missed the Masters just twice – in 2006 and 2017 – since his debut in 2004, with his best finish a tie for sixth in 2015 when he shot 67-67 over the weekend.
Rai is another in the Valero Texas Open field hoping to land a maiden PGA TOUR success and with it a coveted spot at the Masters next week.
A two-time DP World Tour winner, most one of which being a Rolex Series title in Scotland in 2020, he has featured solely on the PGA TOUR in 2022.
Rai, who has played in golf’s three other majors, finished tied sixth at the Farmers Insurance Open in January to register his first top ten finish on the PGA TOUR.
Schwab will complete the sweep of appearances at the Majors if the 27-year-old Austrian can register his maiden professional title in Texas.
He has competed on the PGA TOUR since the DP World Tour’s Rolex Series double header in January and has secured ties for seventh in consecutive weeks at the Honda Classic and Puerto Rico Open.
Sweden’s Stenson was earlier this month unveiled as Europe’s Ryder Cup Captain for the biennial contest in Rome in 2023 and will tee it up this week with the aim of continuing a 16-year streak of appearing at the Masters.
The 2016 Open Champion’s best finish at Augusta National was a tie for fifth place in 2018 and, with 17 worldwide titles to his name, will be eyeing another one this week to secure a return to the year’s first Major.
Wallace nearly won his first PGA TOUR title at the Valero Texas Open last year, eventually finishing third as Jordan Spieth claimed his first victory in nearly four years.
The Englishman has played in the last three editions of the Masters and won the par-three tournament at Augusta in its last staging in 2019.