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Ishikawa given Masters invitation

Kyodo

Golfer Ryo Ishikawa has accepted a special invitation to the Masters starting April 11, organizers announced Friday.

The 21-year-old took home enough in PGA Tour earnings last year to secure his card for the 2013 season, but did not meet any of the criteria for automatic invitation to Augusta. Ishikawa, who currently ranks 75th in the world, would have had to win a PGA Tour event or move up into the world’s top 50 by the week prior to the tournament in order to qualify on his own.

Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant, winner of the 2012 Asian Tour Order of Merit, was also given a special invitation by the Masters Committee.

“The Masters has long established a tradition of supporting the global game, and we were excited to extend invitations to Thaworn Wiratchant and Ryo Ishikawa, who we hope will provide added interest and enthusiasm for golf in Asia through their participation in the Tournament,” Augusta National Golf Club Chairman Billy Payne said in a statement.

It will be Ishikawa’s fifth consecutive Masters appearance. He first received a special invitation in 2009, when he made his Augusta National debut at age 17.

After qualifying by virtue of his world rankings in 2010 and 2011, he received another special invitation to last year’s tournament.