By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
Fourteen players were added to the Masters field by virtue of being in the top 50 of the year-end Official World Golf Ranking. With no official events remaining this year, OWGR officials were able to calculate the Dec. 31 ranking.
Hideki Matsuyama, Thomas Bjorn, Jamie Donaldson, Victor Dubuisson, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Francesco Molinari, Rickie Fowler, Matteo Manassero, David Lynn, Thongchai Jaidee, Peter Hanson, Joost Luiten and Branden Grace were added to the Masters field.
Luiten and Grace finishes Nos. 49 and 50 in the ranking, respectively. Grace finished sixth at the Nelson Mandela Championship, which concluded Dec. 14. That finish allowed him to remain ahead of fellow South African Richard Sterne, who finished 51st in the ranking. Sterne is not yet exempt for the Masters.
Players can still qualify for the 2014 Masters by winning a PGA TOUR event that offers 500 or more FedExCup points or being in the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking published after the Valero Texas Open on March 27-30.
Matsuyama will be the first winner of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, which Augusta National helped create in 2009, to compete in the Masters. Matsuyama won the Asia-Pacific Amateur in 2010 and 2011, and made the cut in two Masters appearances as an amateur. He finished in the top 10 in his first two majors as a pro, at this year's U.S. Open and Open Championship.
By PGATOUR.COM staff
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano has joined the PGA TOUR as a Special Temporary Member for the remainder of the 2013 season. That means the Spanish golfer is eligible for unlimited sponsor exemptions in his attempt to earn his 2013-14 TOUR card through the non-member money list or non-member FedExCup points list.
In addition, Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen also has the opportunity to accept special temporary membership. Olesen finished tied for sixth at the Masters, and his earnings of $278,000 gives him $632,300 in six starts this season.
That surpasses the total earnings of the player who finished No. 150 on the 2012 money list ($474,295) and makes him eligible to be a Special Temporary Member.
Fernandez-Castano has earned $592,020 this year, including the $89,920 he earned in finishing in a tie for 20th at the Masters.
Earlier this year, 19-year-old Jordan Spieth earned enough money to become a Special Temporary Member.
Thanks to his tie for third at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard, Spanish golfer Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano now has the opportunity to join the PGA TOUR as a Special Temporary Member for the remainder of the 2013 season.
Castano's earnings at Bay Hill -- $297,000 -- gives him a total of $502,100 in three starts this season. That total surpasses the total earnings of the player who finished No. 150 on the 2012 money list ($474,295).
In addition to his tie for third on Monday, Fernandez-Castano finished tied for ninth at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship and tied for 43rd at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship.
If Fernandez-Castano decides to become a Special Temporary Member, he will be eligible for unlimited sponsor exemptions in his attempt to earn a 2013-14 TOUR card through the non-member money list or non-member FedExCup points list.
Earlier this month, 19-year-old Texan Jordan Spieth became a Special Temporary Member after earning $521,893 in his first four starts on TOUR this year.
MARANA, Ariz. -- Webb Simpson needed 18 holes to finally put away Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, who nearly erased a 4-down deficit on the back nine.
Simpson was already 4 up after 11 holes in this match that started on the back nine. But the Spaniard launched a comeback -- winning the third hole when Simpson made bogey and the fifth and eighth with birdies to send the match to one last hole.
Simpson needed to halve to win, and he two-putted for par as Fernandez-Castano took three on the way to a bogey. This is just Simpson's second apperance at Dove Mountain, and it's the first time he's advanced past the first round.
"I played great for the most part," Simpson said. "I just kind of played super sloppy coming in. I made a couple birdies, but I just played sloppy.
"So for me I'm going to really dwell on my first nine holes and just try to keep playing well. Can't make those mistakes out here."
SCORECARD STATS: Simpson made five birdies, 11 pars and three bogeys and a double-bgoey. Fernandez-Castano made five birdies, 10 pars and three bogeys.
HOLES WON: Simpson won six holes. Fernandez-Castano won four holes.
NEXT UP: Simpson plays Hunter Mahan, who beat Martin Kaymer 5 and 4.
MARANA, Ariz. -- Charles Howell III knocked out Tiger Woods on Thursday. CH3 then proceeded to get knocked out by Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano in Friday's second round.
Howell couldn't summon the magic that he displayed in outdueling Woods in the first round. After playing a bogey-free 4 under to beat Tiger, Howell failed to produce a birdie in a 2-over round through 13 holes.
Meanwhile, Fernandez-Castano -- who earlier in the day completed his first-round win over Francesco Molinari -- never trailed as he posted a bogey-free 5 under. He won the first two holes and was 4 up through eight. He finished off Howell with his final birdie of the day at the par-5 13th.
Fernandez-Castano has seven birdies in the first two rounds against just one bogey. He's hit 74 percent of his greens and 88 percent of his fairways.
SCORECARD STATS: Fernandez-Castano carded five birdies and no bogeys. Howell carded two bogeys and no birdies.
HOLES WON: Fernandez-Castano won five holes. Howell did not win a hole.
NEXT OPPONENT: Fernandez-Castano plays the Webb Simpson-Peter Hanson winner in the third round of the Player bracket.
MARANA, Ariz. -- Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, a No. 8 seed, defeated Italian Francesco Molinari, a No. 9 seed, 2 up in the completion of their first-round match Friday morning.
Fernandez-Castano advances to play Shane Lowry in the second round. Lowry, the last seed in the field, upset top overall seed Rory McIlroy in the first round. Last year in his first start in this event, Fernandez-Castano lost to Tiger Woods in the first round.
With the match all square through 15 holes when play was halted Thursday, Fernandez-Castano took the lead Friday when Molinari bogeyed their first hole, the par-3 16th, when play resumed.
Trailing 1 down going into the last hole, Molinari pressed the issue and suffered a final bogey.
The Spaniard played solid, with two birdies and one bogey on his card. Molinari, who has lost in the first round in three of his four starts here, had three birdies and four bogeys.
MARANA, Ariz. -- Two of the 32 first-round matches of the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship were halted by darkness on Thursday and will be finished on Friday morning at Dove Mountain.
Carl Pettersson is 1 up on Rickie Fowler through 17 holes. Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Francesco Molinari are all square through 15 holes. Both matches will resume at 9:30 a.m. local time (11:30 a.m. ET).
The winner of the Pettersson-Fowler match will play Shane Lowry in the second round of the Jones bracket. Lowry knocked off top overall seed Rory McIlroy 1 up.
The Fernandez-Castano-Molinari winner will face Charles Howell III in the second round of the Player bracket. Howell upset Tiger Woods, the No. 2 overall seed, 2 and 1.
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
MARANA, Ariz. -- On Monday, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano said that his World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship first-round opponent, Tiger Woods, was "beatable." Woods replied on Tuesday that Fernadez-Castano also was "beatable."
As it turned out, both players were probably right.
Although Woods ended up winning Wednesday's match 1 up, it wasn't exactly a thing of beauty. Both players found themselves in the native area on several occasions. Woods had to navigate shots up against the bushes; in fact, he had to play a steep left-handed shot at the second hole.
Fernandez-Castano, making his Match Play debut, left the 18th green kicking himself for not upsetting Woods, who has lost just two first-round matches in 11 previous Match Play starts.
"I think if there was one day to beat Tiger Woods, this was it," the Spaniard said. "I didn't take the opportunity. I missed a few shots. And, of course, you can't miss shots if you want to beat one of the greatest in history."
Woods said there were a couple of key turning points.
At the 12th hole, he rolled in a 7-foot par putt to halve the hole when it looked like he would fall 2 down. Fernandez-Castano then missed an 8-foot birdie putt at the par-5 13th.
After getting up-and-down again at the 14th, Woods drove the short par-4 15th to set up his only birdie on the back nine. Fernandez-Castano bogeyed the next hole, giving Woods the lead for good.
"For some reason, that was the nature of our match today," Woods said. "We had some big swings and as I said, I'm very fortunate to move on."
Fernandez-Castano had a chance to extend the match at the 18th. But his birdie putt from just inside 10 feet slid by. Meanwhile, Woods made his par-saving putt from just inside nine feet.
"I gave him a headache on the 18th, which is good," Fernandez-Castano said. "It's a shame the putt didn't go in, because I hit it where I wanted to and how I wanted."
If Woods wants to advance, he will need to do a better job judging the distances in the thin Arizona air. It was a problem that plagued him on Wednesday.
"I've got to get a better feel for my distances out here," Woods said. "Just the numbers that we can hit the golf ball out here is just amazing, with the altitude and with the wind and being warm.
"There's a lot of numbers going on, taking off percentages and then, you know, for how long is this ball going to stay in the air versus a short and blah, blah, blah. So it's tough."
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
MARANA, Ariz. -- When Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano found out that his opening-round foe at this week's World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship was Tiger Woods, the first words out of his mouth were not "Oh, no!" but rather ...
"Oh, yes," the Spaniard said Monday. "It's a great opportunity."
"I think he's beatable,” Fernandez-Castano said. "Of course, I need to play good. That's all I can think about and that's all I'm going to try on Wednesday, just try playing my best game and hope that he doesn't play his best."
Fernandez-Castano has five wins on the European Tour, including the 2011 Barclays Singapore Open, the highlight of his comeback after taking more than six months off with a back injury. Ranked 48th in the world, the Spaniard didn't expect that Tiger would be his first-round foe.
But Woods' fall in the rankings -- he's a fifth seed this week, his worst seeding in this event, and is ranked 20th in the world -- means Fernandez-Castano gets the first crack at the upset.
"I'm the underdog," he said. "I have nothing to lose. And at the same time, I don't think he's at his best. ...
"I've never played with Tiger before, not even on a stroke-play event. I just want to go out there. For me, it's a big privilege. If I win, fantastic. If I lose, well, I've lost to one of the best players of golf in history."