Verplank, Na play themselves into Match Play |

Verplank, Na play themselves into Match Play

LOS ANGELES – Ross McGowan of England might get the final spot in the 64-man Match Play Championship, but only if Tiger Woods doesn’t return from his indefinite break.

Sunday was the cutoff for players to qualify based on the world ranking.

Kevin Na closed with a 5-under 66 at Riviera to secure his spot in the $8.5 million World Golf Championship, which starts Feb. 17 at Dove Mountain in Marana, Ariz. Scott Verplank and Chad Campbell also had good weekends to make sure they got in.

Woods, who announced his indefinite break Dec. 11 to try to salvage his marriage from his extramarital affairs, is not expected to play in the Accenture Match Play Championship.

Phil Mickelson, who slipped to No. 3 in the world Sunday, had already said he would not play this year because of a family vacation that had been postponed because of his wife’s breast cancer.

Campbell shot 71-68 and wound up No. 63. He last played the Match Play Championship two years ago, making it to the semifinals. Campbell came into the Northern Trust Open at No. 62 and was hopeful of staying inside the top 64.

“I figured Tiger and Phil would probably not play, so I had some room to spare,” Campbell said. “But I definitely wanted to get in.”

Without those players, Riviera winner Steve Stricker would be the No. 1 seed at Dove Mountain. Stricker won the Match Play in 2001 when it was played in Australia.

Lee Westwood would be the No. 2 seed, followed by Jim Furyk and Martin Kaymer.

McGowan was at No. 65 going into the week and missed the cut at the Dubai Desert Classic. He slipped only one spot when Ben Curtis tied for 61st at Riviera, which was the same as missing the cut. While the Northern Trust Open offered more ranking points than Dubai, points only were awarded to the top 54 players. Curtis could have qualified by making 15-foot birdie putts on either of his last two holes.

Players have until Friday to officially declare they are playing.

Assuming that Woods doesn’t play, and no one else withdraws, among the first-round matches would be Ryo Ishikawa against Michael Sim, and Justin Leonard against Ian Poulter.

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