Sterne close to Masters invite
Johannesburg - South African golfer Richard Sterne has moved to 50th in the world rankings following a 12th place finish at the World Golf Championship at TPC Blue Monster at Doral, in Miami, on Sunday.
The top 50 in the world at the cut-off date of April 1 receive an invitation to the year's first major - The Masters at Augusta starting on April 11.
It would be crucial for Sterne to maintain his spot in the top 50 in the next few weeks.
The 31-year-old, who battled with back injuries in 2010 and 2011, began 2012 outside the top 1000 in the rankings.
In May last year, he still stood at 624th before he rapidly shot up with his good results, including a win at the Joburg Open co-sanctioned Sunshine Tour event in February.
Sterne had reached a career high in 2008 when he moved inside the top 30 in the world rankings.
His 12th spot on the leader board moved Sterne up four spots, but he is currently not eligible for any US PGA tour events before the Masters.
The only way he can get into any events there is through special invitation.
Sterne tweeted on Sunday he hoped he had done enough to get into the Masters.
"Enjoyable week at Doral! Hopefully enough to get to THE MASTERS??? Lets hope so!" he wrote on the social networking site.
Sterne, however, is still down to play locally in the Sunshine Tour's Telkom PGA at Country Club Johannesburg starting on Thursday. There he would need a high finish to gain enough world ranking points to improve his position.
Next week, the Investec Cup will provide a better opportunity for Sterne to improve his ranking. The limited field Sunshine Tour event will have more ranking points on offer in what will be his last opportunity to guarantee his top 50 ranking.