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Thorbjorn Olesen among Masters Tournament qualifiers

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Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen received an early Christmas gift Sunday when he rose to No. 50 in the World Golf Ranking and snagged an automatic berth into the 2013 Masters Tournament.

Olesen was among 13 who only qualified thanks to their place in the top 50 in the final Official World Golf Ranking for this year.

The final ranking was published Sunday night and is one of the ways golfers can gain entry to Augusta National Golf Club for the year’s first major.

Olesen’s good fortune came at the expense of former U.S. Open winner Geoff Ogilvy. The Australian is ranked No. 51 in the world and will have to win a qualifying PGA Tour event early in 2013 or finish among the top 50 in the rankings the week before the Masters.

Olesen and Ogilvy switched places in the ranking from the week before even though Olesen sat out this past week and Ogilvy tied for fourth at the Australian PGA. The formula used by the world ranking calculates an average based on points earned per tournament over a two-year period.

Ogilvy’s best finish in 2012 on the PGA Tour was a tie for ninth at the British Open.

Olesen, who will celebrate his 23rd birthday Friday, also tied for ninth at the British Open. On the European Tour, he won the Sicilian Open and had three other top-five finishes this year.

Joining Olesen as first-timers through the final world ranking are South Africa’s Branden Grace and George Coetzee, Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts and Wales’s Jamie Donaldson.

Paul Lawrie, Francesco Molinari, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Bill Haas, Jason Day, Hiroyuki Fujita, Matteo Manassero and Thomas Bjorn all earned repeat trips to Augusta.

Ten other golfers, including 14-year-old Tianlang Guan, of China, had previously qualified for their first Masters.

Ogilvy is not the only prominent player in danger of missing the tournament. Two-time Masters runner-up Retief Goosen has slipped to 107th in the ranking and could miss out for the second year in a row.

Players with Augusta-area ties also have yet to qualify. Charles Howell is ranked the highest at No. 117.

The 2013 Masters will be held April 11-14.


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