Kiradech Aphibarnrat will be returning to the Masters – and it took some last-hole heroics for the Thai to secure his ticket back to Augusta National.
Aphibarnrat entered this week’s Indonesian Masters at No. 56 in the Official World Golf Ranking. The top 50 players in the OWGR at the end of the year earn Masters invites if they aren’t already exempt. Needing an eagle at the par-5 18th Sunday at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, Aphibarnrat converted.
The eagle gave the 28-year-old a closing 3-under 69 and moved him to 17 under, which was good for a solo-fifth finish. While he moved to only No. 51 in the world on Sunday evening, OWGR projections have the Thai projected to be No. 49 at year’s end. That’s when he’ll officially earn his Masters invite.
When he tees it up at Augusta National this April, Aphibarnrat will be making his second Masters appearance. He tied for 15th in 2016, his Masters debut.
Aphibarnrat wasn’t the only golfer to clinch his move into the top 50 in Indonesia. Yusaku Miyazato of Japan finished fourth and is projected to jump from to No. 50 in the world in two weeks. (No events are scheduled for the next two weekends in pro golf.)
Of course, two players moving into the top 50 mean two players are moving out. Peter Uihlein and Satoshi Kodaira are projected to drop out of the top 50 from Nos. 49 and 50, respectively. Neither are currently exempt into the 2018 Masters, though they can still earn their invites by winning a PGA Tour event (non-opposite field) before this year’s Masters or moving back into the top 50 by the March 25 cutoff.
Neither Uihlein or Kodaira teed it up in Indonesia.
Brandt Snedeker and Dylan Frittelli also failed to do enough in Indonesia to secure Masters berths. Snedeker, World No. 51 entering the week, withdrew during his second round because of heat exhaustion and Frittelli, ranked 55th at the start of the week, finished T-20.