Match Play cutoff looms for many in Valspar field


The field for the upcoming WGC-Dell Match Play Championship will be finalized Monday, which means it's time to get to work for several players teeing it up this week at the Valspar Championship.

Next week's Official World Golf Ranking will be used to determine the 64-man field later this month in Austin, although the cutoff will extend to at least No. 66 because of expected absences from both Henrik Stenson and Jim Furyk. The 66th spot is where match-play specialist Ian Poulter finds himself entering the week, as the Englishman hasn't had a top-10 finish on the PGA Tour since last May at Colonial. While he missed last week's WGC event at Trump National Doral, Poulter should qualify with a made cut at Innisbrook.

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Two spots further down is Gary Woodland at No. 68, a surprising slot given his success in last year's match-play event at TPC Harding Park. Woodland made it all the way to the championship match before losing to Rory McIlroy, but since then he has managed only one top-10 finish in 19 starts. A winner at Innisbrook in 2011, Woodland will likely need at least a top-35 finish to avoid becoming the first player to fail to qualify for the match-play field after finishing second the year prior.

Harris English and Ryan Palmer enter the week at Nos. 69 and 70, respectively, and will likely need at least top-25 finishes to move into the projected bracket. English comes off a top-10 at Doral and finished third earlier this year at TPC Scottsdale, while Palmer has five top-30s this season but no single result better than a T-13 at the Sony Open.

The group of bubble boys also includes a pair of former major champions who have slipped while transitioning to life after anchoring. Webb Simpson begins the week at No. 75 and will need at least a top-10 finish. Simpson has played sparingly this year, making just his fourth start of 2016, but each of the prior three have netted top-20 finishes. Meanwhile, Keegan Bradley sits at No. 88, in need of a top-4 finish that would equal his best result since last year's Northern Trust Open.