In-form Aaron Baddeley needs nothing less than a win at the Valero Texas Open if he is to make an eighth appearance at The Masters next week at Augusta National Golf Club.
Riding the wave of momentum that comes with a second top-10 finish in his past four starts, Baddeley has risen to 187 in the Official World Golf Rankings despite the fact that he lost his PGA TOUR card in 2018.
His tie for seventh – his third top-10 result this season – at last week’s Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship earned him a place in the field at TPC San Antonio this week and he knows the rich reward for a triumph on Sunday.
"That Masters spot definitely adds incentive to try and win,” Baddeley told AAP.
"It focuses you in the lead-up. But once you've teed off Thursday, you try not to think about it until Sunday if you're in contention.
"You don't want to get ahead of yourself."
Tied for 16th 12 months ago and fifth in 2017, Baddeley has a strong history at the Texas Open. He was tied for third when countryman Adam Scott won in 2010 and has three further top-30 finishes since 2013.
Dating all the way back to Joe Kirkwood in 1924, Australian winners have been few and far between with Bruce Crampton (1964), Scott and Steven Bowditch (2014) the only ones on a roll call of winners that also includes Arnold Palmer, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Ben Crenshaw and Lee Trevino.
This year represents the first time that the Texas Open has been played the week prior to The Masters, a spot historically filled by the Shell Houston Open at Houston Golf Club.
The Greg Norman-designed TPC San Antonio Oaks Course is not considered to replicate the Augusta-like conditions that Houston Golf Club was famous for but the Aussie contingent will be hoping that it plays into their hands.
Joining Baddeley in trying to secure the last place in The Masters field are 2014 Houston Open champion Matt Jones, John Senden, Rod Pampling, Curtis Luck and Cameron Davis.
Elsewhere in the field, former major champions Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell, Jim Furyk and Lucas Glover also need to win if they are to book a place at Augusta next week.
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