MIAMI (AP) – Mark Wilson made a 4-foot birdie putt on Doral’s final hole Saturday, greatly improving his chances.
Of winning? Not exactly, since he got within a mere 11 shots of Tiger Woods at the time.
No, when Wilson tees off Sunday in the final round of the CA Championship, the biggest prize awaiting him is a chance to play his first Masters. Wilson needs to be among the top 10 on the PGA Tour money list after this tournament. He was No. 9 when the week started, although Woods at No. 11 was almost certain to pass him.
Wilson might go dizzy looking at some of the possibilities Sunday.
“If it happens, it’s a huge bonus,” said Wilson, who shot even-par 72 and is 2 over entering the final round. “I think about it a little bit, but at this point, this is my fifth tournament in a row. I’m a little tired. I’m making lots of mental mistakes this week. So to have two weeks off might not be so bad either.”
John Rollins is a mathematical lock to stay in the top 10 and qualify for the Masters. The only other players this week with a realistic chance of going to Augusta National are Wilson and Mark Calcavecchia.
Calcavecchia shot a 2-under 70 Saturday, putting him at 1 under for the tournament, and it would take some sort of major collapse to bump him past 10th on the money list.
Like Wilson, the only reason Calcavecchia can even think about Augusta this year is because of a victory earlier this month. Wilson won a four-man playoff to claim the Honda Classic for his first tour victory; Calcavecchia made a stirring rally after opening with a 75 to win the PODS Championship at Innisbrook a week later.
“I still feel great,” Calcavecchia said. “I still feel like I am playing pretty good.”
Calcavecchia is looking to play the Masters for the 17th time. He last made the cut at Augusta in 2001, tying for fourth, and was second by a stroke to Sandy Lyle in 1988. He’s already acknowledged that he wasn’t planning to be at the Masters, but now finds himself practically expecting to be there.
“I hope it happens,” Calcavecchia said.
Obviously, so does Wilson, but that doesn’t mean the math major from North Carolina planned to spend his Saturday night busily crunching numbers.
One of the first things he talked about after winning the Honda was how much he’d enjoy taking his father to Augusta for a practice round. If he gets in this year’s field, they plan to be there on Wednesday or Thursday.
But if that trip gets postponed, Wilson knows he’s already got a good start on playing there in 2008 – the top 40 names on this season’s final money list will secure a spot in next year’s Masters field.
“All I’ll be thinking about Sunday is finally having one good round here this week,” Wilson said. “I know I’ll get there someday. But sooner rather than later, please.”