Japanese golfer Ryo Ishikawa accepted a special invitation to play in golf’s Masters Tournament next month for the second time in his career.
Ishikawa, 20, is No. 53 in the Official World Golf Ranking, putting him three spots outside of an automatic berth in the field for the first major tournament of the season.
The special invitation, which is extended by Augusta National Golf Club Chairman Billy Payne, is reserved for foreign-born players.
“Historically, the Masters has invited international players not otherwise qualified to expand the tournament’s global reach,” Payne said in an e-mailed news release. “Ishikawa is an accomplished player on the Japan Golf Tour, and we believe his presence will help increase interest not only in his home country, but also throughout Asia.”
Ishikawa has competed in the Masters three times, with his best finish coming in 2011 when he tied for 12th. He has nine career victories outside of the U.S. PGA Tour, including a win as a 15-year-old in Japan in 2007. His best PGA Tour finish was a fourth at last year’s Bridgestone Invitational.
A total of 95 players have already received invitations to this year’s Masters, including seven from Asia. Golfers can still qualify by winning a PGA Tour event or by being among the top 50 in the world rankings the week before play begins.
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