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Ishikawa, Thaworn accept Masters invitations

Ryo Ishikawa of Japan is pictured December 9, 2012
Ryo Ishikawa of Japan, pictured December 9, 2012, along with Thai veteran Thaworn Wiratchant, has accepted invitations to compete in the 2013 Masters.

Young Japanese star Ryo Ishikawa and Thai veteran Thaworn Wiratchant have accepted invitations to compete in the 2013 Masters, organizers of the golf's first major of the season said Friday.

Billy Payne, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters, said the field for the April 11-14 tournament so far includes 85 golfers from 21 countries, 16 first-time participants and six amateurs.

"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," Payne said.

"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."

Wiratchant, 46, won the 2012 Asian Tour Order of Merit. He'll be making his first Masters appearance when he competes at Augusta National in April.

He holds the Asian Tour record for most career victories, having won for the 15th time at the India Open last October, a co-sanctioned European PGA Tour event.

The 21-year-old Ishikawa will be making his fifth straight start at the Masters with his best finish coming in 2011 when he tied for 20th.

In his final five starts of 2012, he closed out the season on the Japan Golf Tour by collecting his 10th career win and recording three additional top-10 finishes.

Golfers have two more chances to qualify for the 2013 Masters by winning a PGA Tour event that awards a full-point allocation for the season-ending Tour Championship or by climbing into the top 50 of the world golf rankings published during the week prior to the Masters.

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