IN his last throw of the dice, Marc Warren probably needs to finish in the top 15 in the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio this week to secure a Masters debut in a fortnight’s time.
The 33-year-old is currently ranked 52nd in the world and needs to move into the top 50 when the standings are updated on Monday to join three of his compatriots, Stephen Gallacher, Sandy Lyle and Bradley Neil, at Augusta National. A top-18 finish at TPC San Antonio might just be good enough. To make certain, however, he probably needs to be sitting inside the leading 15 finishers come Sunday night.
It’s Warren’s debut in an event that Martin Laird won two years ago to book his Masters spot, but the three-times European Tour winner has produced some eye-catching performances in the United States in the past, finishing 12th and 15th in the last two US PGA Championships and 17th in the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral this month.
“Once you get close to the top 50 it can play on your mind a little bit, but it’s been a big positive for me that it hasn’t been on my mind. I’ve just kept doing what I’m doing,” said Warren.
“Fortunately the people at the Valero Texas Open have given me an invite for this week, which gives me a great opportunity to get into the Masters. But this event in Texas is a massive event in its own right, so to be brutally honest, my focus is all on that at the minute. The Masters is always going to be there next year, so if I get in or not, it’s not the be all and end all at such an early stage of the season.”
Outside the top 100, Laird needs to repeat his 2013 success in order to make the season’s opening major, while the same probably goes for Russell Knox, though the world No 76 might get close to the top 50 if he finished second or third.
Elsewhere, a 15-strong Scottish contingent sets out in Morocco today in two separate events. Richie Ramsay, Scott Jamieson, David Drysdale, Craig Lee, Andrew McArthur and Scott Henry are in the line-up for the Hassan Trophy while the field for the Lalla Meryem Cup features Kylie Walker, Carly Booth, Michele Thomson, Sally Watson, Vikki Laing, Pamela Pretswell, Kelsey Macdonald, Laura Murray and Heather MacRae.
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