Shubhankar Sharma, the 21-year-old Indian stud who contented at the WGC-Mexico Championship last weekend, has accepted an invitation to the 2018 Masters.
Sharma is ranked No. 66 in the Official World Golf Rankings and has not officially qualified for the year's first major championship. He had opportunities to do so as a PGA Tour winner before the Masters or if he got into the top 50 in the OWGR the week before the Masters, but Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley extended a special invite anyway.
"Golf is a global game, and throughout our history we have extended invitations to deserving international players not otherwise qualified," Ridley said in a statement. "As his results have proven, Shubhankar Sharma is a remarkable young player, and we look forward to welcoming him to Augusta National in April."
Sharma was paired with Tyrrell Hatton and Phil Mickelson in the final round last week in Mexico, where he led after 54 holes. Sharma shot a 74 and finished T9 with Adam Hadwin and Bubba Watson.
Sharma, who was outside the top 450 in the world as recently as December, won the Joburg Open in that month and the Maybank Championship in February. This boosted his OWGR and slid him into the No. 1 spot in the Race to Dubai (Europe's FedEx Cup). That ranking got him into the Mexico Championship to begin with. He's still No. 1 in the Race to Dubai after the T9 Mexico finish, just ahead of Tommy Fleetwood and Hatton.
The last special exemption handed out by Augusta National came in 2013 to Ryo Ishikawa. He finished T38 that year. Sharma will join countrymen Jeev Milkha Singh, Arjun Atwal and Anirban Lahiri as the only golfers from India to play in the Masters.