Chasing Masters spots, Hadley, Palmer implode


The prospect of a Masters berth can do strange things to players.

Earlier this month PGA Tour rookie Chesson Hadley won the Puerto Rico Open, but the opposite-field event did not offer an automatic spot in the Masters.

His next-best option? To punch his ticket via the top 50 in the Official World Ranking.

Hadley was in an ideal position. The former Georgia Tech product needed a top-6 finish last week at Bay Hill to move inside the bubble, but he closed with 79 and eventually tied for 26th. Beginning this week at No. 56 in the rankings, he needed a top-7 finish at the Valero Texas Open to make the Masters, but, after starting the final round in 14th place, he shot an 8-over 80 Sunday and tied for 56th. 

He wasn't the only player to falter, however. Ryan Palmer, at No. 62 in the world, began the final round inside the top 10 and needed a solo second or two-way tie for third to move into the top 50 in the world. He fared even worse than Hadley, however, shooting 82 and tumbling to T-56.

The Texas Open was the final opportunity for players to crack the top 50 in the world and secure a spot in the Masters. If not already exempt, next week’s winner in Houston can earn an automatic invitation.

So much for deadline drama. Stephen Gallacher is the only player who moved inside the top 50 in the world since the end of 2013.