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Jay Haas earns trip to Masters

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla., March 30 (UPI) -- Jay Haas received a huge consolation prize Sunday when he tied for second at the Players Championship.

Apart from $572,000 in prize money, Haas earned a last-minute berth into The Masters, the year's first major, which starts April 10 at the Augusta National Golf Club.

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"To be going there one more time, that's definitely a bonus," said the 49-year-old Haas, who has played The Masters 18 times since 1978.

Haas was among six players not previously exempt who are on their way to Augusta, joining fellow Americans Kirk Triplett, John Huston, Tom Lehman and Chad Campbell along with South African Tim Clark.

"The first major of the year, the history, the whole atmosphere gets me pumped up," said Haas, whose best finish was a tie for third in 1995. "There are 50 different things that get me excited about being there."

Triplett, Huston, Lehman and Clark got in by being ranked in the top 50 in the world after the Players Championship.

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Campbell got in by being among the top 10 players on the PGA Tour money list. Haas qualified in both categories.

Everyone else in the top 10 on the money list and the top 50 in the world already was exempt.

The Masters field is now set at 94 players with the news that former champion Arnold Palmer has decided to play again. Last year, Palmer was given a rousing send-off in what was expected to be his final appearance.

Haas and Triplett were ranked 57th and 59th in the world going into the Players Championship. Triplett finished tied for eighth.

By jumping into the top 50 in the world rankings, the duo bumped Australian Stephen Leaney and South African Trevor Immelman.

Leaney and Immelman were ranked 49th and 50th, respectively, before missing the cut at the Players Championship.

Huston will make his 13th Masters appearance, Lehman his 11th, Triplett his fourth, Clark his second and Campbell his first.

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