Leonard will get invite to 2010 Masters
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Justin Leonard's birdie putt on the 18th hole that would have won the Children's Miracle Network Classic lipped out, and then he fell in a sudden-death playoff won by Stephen Ames on Sunday at the Walt Disney World Resort.
But Leonard at least has the consolation of a Masters Tournament invitation.
He was the only player in the field who moved into the PGA Tour's top 30 money winners, one of several ways to get into the Masters field. The tournament was the final event of the 2009 season.
Leonard earned $413,600 for tying for second with George McNeill, which moved him from 42nd on the money list to 30th with $2,232,378. John Rollins will also get an invitation by finishing 28th on the money list -- he was 29th heading into the Disney event and tied for 24th.
Matt Kuchar, who won the Turning Stone Resort tournament last month, finished 24th on the money list and also will get an invitation.
Leonard figured to get into the Masters anyway based on his spot in the Official World Golf Ranking. The top 50 at the end of the year get a Masters invite and Leonard was 42nd heading into Disney and will move up.
In addition to determining the top 125 money winners for the season and full exempt status for next year, players will also trying to finish among the top 70, which guarantees invites to invitationals such as the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the Colonial and the Memorial.
Bob Harig is the golf writer for ESPN.com.
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When the world's top players stroll down Magnolia Lane in April, each one will be in search of the famed green jacket awarded to the Masters champion. Championship CentralDate: Apr. 8-11, 2010
2009 champion: Angel Cabrera
Course: Augusta National Golf Club
Where: Augusta, Ga.
Yardage, par: 7,435 yards, par-72
TV coverage: ESPN, CBS