Westwood, Donaldson eye major berths in Thailand


One of the last competitive rounds of the calendar year could yield multiple major berths for former Ryder Cup teammates Lee Westwood and Jamie Donaldson.

Both Westwood and Donaldson began the year ranked inside the top 30, but difficult seasons inside the ropes have seen both plummet in the standings. Westwood entered this week's Thailand Golf Championship ranked No. 56, while Donaldson has fallen to No. 68. 

But both have a chance to improve their standing with a strong finish in Thailand, just in time to crack the top 50 by year's end - and qualify for the Masters in the process. Donaldson held the first-round lead with a 63 and now sits alone in second, two shots behind unheralded Frenchman Clement Sordet. Donaldson likely needs to win to have a chance to move inside the top 50.

Westwood is one shot further back, alone in third place and three behind Sordet. The defending champ in Thailand, Westwood made a big move with a third-round 64 and his top-50 prospects are somewhat brighter: a top-4 finish this week should be enough to punch the Englishman's ticket to Augusta National.

Masters berths aside, both Westwood and Donaldson are in great position to earn spots at the Open Championship, an event for which neither is currently qualified. The top four finishers inside the top 12 who are not already qualified will earn berths at Royal Troon as part of the Open Qualifying Series.