MARC Warren looked as though he was going to fall agonisingly short in his bid to bolster the Scottish contingent in next week’s Masters.
The 33-year-old headed into the last round of the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio probably needing to finish 28th or better to climb two spots into the world’s top 50 when the updated rankings are released today.
As local hero Jimmy Walker headed for a popular victory, Warren was edging close to that target after making three birdies in a row to finish his front nine but his momentum was halted by two bogeys in four holes. Warren finished birdie-birdie to close with a 70 and, at the time of signing his scorecard, he was sitting joint 32nd on five-over.
It meant Warren will almost certainly not be joining Sandy Lyle, Stephen Gallacher and Bradley Neil at Augusta National, but he certainly gave it a terrific run. After ending last year in 69th spot in the standings, the three-times European Tour winner finished second in Qatar, 13th in Dubai then ninth in Malaysia to climb to 48th.
His cause wasn’t helped when a joint second in the 2013 BMW Championship at Wentworth stopped counting for his ranking but Warren kept his hopes alive by finishing joint 17th in the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral.
After losing in a play-off to get into the Valspar Championship in Tampa, he then managed to secure an invitation for the San Antonio event and can be proud of the fact he was still in the running for an 11th-hour Masters invitation until the back nine of the final round.
Earlier in the week, the Scot insisted he wouldn’t be too disappointed if he missed out on the season’s opening major, feeling confident he can make the drive up Magnolia Lane for the first time in the near future.
“I am more concerned about qualifying for the WGC – Match-Play Championship in May in San Francisco,” he said. “I would be more disappointed missing out on that event than if I were not to get an invitation to the Masters.”
With Harris English and Matt Jones also looking as though they were coming up short of their respective goals in Texas, it meant English duo Paul Casey was probably going to be the only player not already exempt earning an invitation for next week.
South African George Coetzee and England’s Tommy Fleetwood also failed in their last throw of the dice to make the season’s opening major this time around. Both needing a win, Coetzee finished joint-third behind Richie Ramsay in the Hassan Trophy in Morocco while Fleetwood ended in a share of 17th.