Rory McIlroy will make a US Masters debut at Augusta next April should he retain his position inside the world’s top-50 until the end of the month.  

The Ulsterman was cruelly denied victory in a play-off at the UBS Hong Kong Open this weekend.

Instead, that maiden win went to Chinese Taipei’s Lin Wen-tang who finds himself just outside the elite 50 – at 51.  

McIlroy, 19, also lost in a play-off at the Omega European Masters in September, but remained positive after his latest narrow loss, especially in view of his rise up the rankings.

“It puts me in a great position going into the new year,” said McIlroy.

“As long as I can keep putting myself in these positions and feeling the nerves and the adrenaline, I’ll know I’m doing things right.

“I have two events left in South Africa. If I don’t win there, I’ll hopefully win sometime next year.

“As long as I keep putting myself in these positions, I’ll be able to pull through sooner or later.”

Meanwhile, Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng, who won the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan this weekend, moved up to 54th in the world rankings.

Where next?

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