sport

Duo receive Masters invites

Japanese star Ryo Ishikawa has received a prized invitation to play at the Masters for a third time, while Thailand's Thaworn Wiratchant has also been added to the field at Augusta in Apri.

While Thai golfer Wirachant will be there making his debut, Ishikawa is now an old hand after he first received a place in the event in 2009 when he was 17, becoming the second youngest player to compete in the event.

He then qualified twice before being handed a spot again last March as he was fighting to climb back into the world's top 50.

Augusta National makes no secret of the fact that it favours Asian players when considering invitations and Wiratchant, who at 68th is seven places higher in the rankings than Ishikawa, gets his chance after topping the Asian Tour Order of Merit last year.

China's Zhang Lian-wei and Thai pair Thongchai Jaidee and Prayad Marksaeng have also played.

Masters chairman Billy Payne said in a statement: "Through our established qualifications, and invitations to select international players not otherwise qualified, we historically bring together a collection of the world's top players and this year is no different.

"The Masters has long established a tradition of supporting the global game and we were excited to extend invitations to Thaworn Wiratchant and Ryo Ishikawa, who we hope will provide added interest and enthusiasm for golf in Asia through their participation in the tournament."