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Four Aussies qualify for US PGA Tour finale

FOUR Australians have qualified for the lucrative US PGA Tour finale, but Stuart Appleby has missed by just one place.

GEOFF Ogilvy has earned a long-awaited return to the Masters as he, Adam Scott, Jason Day and John Senden qualified for the US PGA Tour finale while fellow Australian Stuart Appleby fell agonisingly short.

American Billy Horschel won the penultimate playoff series event, the BNW Championship at Cherry Hills in Denver, Colorado on Sunday, shooting a final round one-under 69 to finish at 14-under 266, two clear of Masters champion Bubba Watson (66).

World No.2 Scott was the best of the Australians, tied eighth at eight-under but Ogilvy's tie for 36th and Appleby's tie for 46th became infinitely more important in the wash-up.

Only the top 30 players on the season-long points list advance to this week's Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta where the FedEx Cup and its $US10 million ($A10.82 million) prize for the points winner are awarded.

But just making the field brings an exemption into the Masters, the US Open and British Open next year.

Appleby has not played in the last 15 majors and he looked set to claim the final place in Atlanta.

That was until American Morgan Hoffman eagled the 17th hole and finished third on Sunday, climbing high enough in the points to push the Australian out to 31st on the list.

Adding to the frustration for Appleby, Dustin Johnson, currently on a voluntary leave of absence from the sport, finished 30th on the list and won't take his place this week, leaving the field at 29 players.

"It is disappointing but no regrets," Appleby said.

"At least now next year I will be playing (pre-tournament) pro-ams again, getting a look at courses more, and hopefully heading in the right direction."

It was better news for Ogilvy, who finished 25th on the points list, allowing him to return to the Masters for the first time since 2011.

"Somehow I managed to not fall over this week. I'm pretty tired. The altitude (in Denver) wears you out and this many tournaments in a row also wears you out so it's great to be back next week and back at Augusta next year," said Ogilvy.

"To be honest I'm not a hundred per cent excited about playing golf next week, but I'm really excited about what making the Tour Championship does for me.

"It's the best exemption in this sport, outside of a big win."

Day, who is yet to be cleared of the back injury that forced him to withdraw in the second round in Denver, qualified 10th to Atlanta, while Scott is 12th and Senden 17th.

Last week's winner Chris Kirk leads the points list from Horschel and Watson with world No.1 Roy McIlroy in fourth spot.

The season ended for Australians Marc Leishman, Matt Jones and Steven Bowditch.

AAP

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