Geoff Ogilvy faces a race against time to line up in next month’s US Masters.
The Victorian star’s chances of playing at Augusta slumped when he missed the cut the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Florida.
He was well-poised for a high finish after an opening round 70 but then his hopes nosedived as he was sent tumbling out of the tournament following a horror second round 79.
The 2006 US Open champion was already on the boarderline for a spot at Augusta when he went into the event ranked No.50 with only the top 50 guaranteed a start.
He is set now to drop out of the cut-off point and has just two tournaments left in Texas to ensure himself of a start.
At the moment only Adam Scott, Jason Day, Marc Leishman and John Senden are assured of playing the year’s first major from April 11-14, although Leishman also missed the cut at the Arnold Palmer.
Ogilvy has had a fine record at Augusta, teeing off in the past seven championships. He has never missed a cut and took a share of fourth two years ago.
Before the Florida event he was upbeat about his chances. There were glimpses his game was back on track when he moved to No.47 in the world after his runner-up finish at the Honda Classic.
"I’m trying not to look at the points even though I’m aware I need a few more to lock it up," Ogilvy said before hitting off at the Bay Hill Club in Orlando.
"I said earlier in the year I am going to play until I am in the Masters and I’m still playing and hopefully I can win this week and we don’t have to worry about it anymore.
"This is as good a week as any and I’m excited about it and remain confident."
However, he said that if he failed to make the tournament there would be "no chance" he would even watch it.
He now has a serious re-think planned and will be under extreme pressure to force his way into the Masters with high finishes over the next fortnight.
The chances of West Australian Greg Chalmers’ Masters also dipped when he also missed the cut at Bay Hill – one of six Australians to perform below form.
The left-hander was aiming to improve his ranking of 60 but started poorly with an opening round 76 and his second round 72 left him one shot short of squeezing into the weekend action.
However his game has been in good form – he finished in fourth place at the Tampa Bay tournament a week ago and has had an earlier top 10 finish.
Victorian Marcus Fraser is in a similar position. Fraser is ranked 61 in the world and is also aiming high over the next two weeks. He played in the Malaysian Open on the European Tour at the weekend but finished down the list in 69th spot.
By: Robert Grant