Time is running out for anyone hoping to sneak into this year’s Masters at the wire. There are just two more US PGA Tour events where the winner would earn a spot into the Augusta National field if they’re not already in – this week’s WGC–Dell Match Play Championship and the Valero Texas Open a week later. Meanwhile, any player within the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking come next Monday at the conclusion of the Match Play who hasn’t already qualified will also get a golden ticket to Augusta.

This second scenario creates an intriguing tournament within a tournament this coming week at Austin Country Club. Currently, there are two players inside the top 50 not already qualified for Augusta – Ireland’s Shane Lowry at No.48 and South Africa’s Justin Harding at No.49 – both of whom are playing in the Match Play. The four-person groups they’ll be playing in won’t be determined until tomorrow, Australian time. Should either of them advance out of group play into the final 16, their spots in Augusta will be clinched, and even if they did not advance, they’ve got reasonable good shots of remaining in the top 50.

More intriguing are the number of players outside the top 50 who are in the Match Play field and who with a solid showing this week could get into Augusta at the siren. The list runs 10 deep and spans various ages, nationalities and experience levels at Augusta. (World Ranking in parentheses.)

Byeong Hun An (51)
Andrew Putnam (53)
Jim Furyk (54)
Chez Reavie (57)
Sungjae Im (59)
Abraham Ancer (61)
Russell Knox (62)
Tom Lewis (63)
Lee Westwood (65)
Luke List (69)

To have a shot of moving into the top 50, any of these 10 will need to win their groups and advance to the final 16 and the head-to-head Match Play bracket. And even then for lower-ranked players like Westwood or List, getting into the quarter-finals or farther is going to be necessary.

The current Masters field sits at 84, with only three players having won US PGA Tour events in 2019 that have gotten them in: Adam Long at the Desert Classic, J.B. Holmes at the Genesis Open and Keith Mitchell at the Honda Classic. Assuming Lowry and Harding get in off the top 50 list after the Match Play, that brings the Masters field to 86, which would be the smallest field since 86 played in 1997.