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Palmer trying to make Match Play, Masters at Valspar

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PALM HARBOR, Fla. – A mathematical deadline looms large for many players this week at the Valspar Championship.

Next Monday’s Official World Golf Ranking will set the field for the WGC-Dell Match Play and for many this is the final chance to qualify for the year’s second World Golf Championship.

“That’s my reason for playing this week,” Ryan Palmer said on Tuesday at Innisbrook. “I wasn’t playing this week until about a week ago. When I saw the eorld ranking and I talked to the Tour and got some information from the world ranking folks, they said this is where you’ll stand if you don’t play [the Valspar Championship], which would be like 69th.”

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World No. 7 Henrik Stenson announced earlier this year he will not play the Match Play because of scheduling issues and No. 15 Jim Furyk is still recovering from wrist surgery.

That means the magic Match Play number is 66, and Palmer at 67 this week’s bubble boy. Also in the field at Innisbrook are No. 68 Patton Kizzire, No. 69 Gary Woodland and No. 70 Harris English. No. 66 Thomas Pieters is playing the European Tour’s Thailand Classic this week.

The final deadline to earn a spot at the Masters, which will take the top 50 in the world, is also looming on March 28.

“I’m playing well and I don’t want to sit at home when I’m playing well,” said Palmer, who is also planning to play next week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational. “Plus, I can still get in the Masters with a top-50. All it takes is a couple of good weeks.”