<
>

Lee Westwood will move into the top 50, earn spot in Masters

With the final ranking of the year left to make it official, 15 players are set to join the 2016 Masters field via the Official World Golf Ranking, including Englishman Lee Westwood, who by a fraction will hold down the 50th spot on the list.

Westwood, who tied for second two weeks ago in the Thailand Golf Championship, dropped to 51st this week, but OWGR officials said he will move back to 50th in the final ranking. He will bump out Chris Kirk, who has already qualified for the Masters by winning at Colonial.

The Masters awards invitations to its tournament are based on several criteria, including the final ranking of the year. Those not otherwise exempt among the top 50 earn invitations, with players such as Sergio Garcia and Danny Willett earning their way to Augusta National through this category.

There are two potential first-time Masters participants on the list, England's Andy Sullivan and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat. Both used last-minute pushes to get into the top 50, with Sullivan's runner-up finish at the European Tour's DP World Tour Championship moving him into the top 40.

The only American to gain entry to the Masters field via this category will be Billy Horschel, the 2014 FedEx Cup champion. Horschel is ranked 39th.

Every other American in the top 50 - a total of 19 players - has qualified for the Masters some other way. When the season resumes in January, players not already in the Masters field can earn an invitation either by winning a non-opposite PGA Tour event through the Shell Houston Open or by moving into the top 50 in the world through the WGC-Dell Match Play Championship two weeks prior to the Masters.

The field size now stands at 90 players.

Former No. 1 Luke Donald is among the prominent players who have not yet qualified. He has slipped to No. 74 in the world.

The only event left in 2015 is this week's Boonchu Ruangkit Championship on the Asian Developmental Tour, which ends Dec. 27. Official World Golf Ranking organizers said the event is unlikely to have any bearing on the top 50 other than the order.