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Masters a play for top spot

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Any one of four players will be golf’s world No. 1 after this weekend’s US Masters at Augusta national.

Current No. 1 Tiger Woods is absent with injury and three players at the Masters have a chance to replace him.

Masters champion Adam Scott, who squandered a great shot at being No. 1 when he lost a three-shot lead at Bay Hill, would need to finish in a two-way tie for third this week at Augusta National.

Henrik Stenson (No. 3) would need at least a two-way tie for second at the Masters to become the first Swedish play at No. 1 in the world.

Jason Day (No. 4) would have to win the Masters to have any shot at being No. 1.

Woods is not playing the Masters for the first time in his career because of back surgery that will keep him out of golf until the summer

Jason Day is confident of his chances for a breakthrough first major triumph despite being sidelined for the past six weeks by a left thumb injury.

The 26-year-old Australian says his thumb has fully healed and his game is strong heading into the first major of the season starting on Thursday.

“It’s fine,” said Day, who won the World Golf Championships Match Play crown in February in his most recent start.

“I had a cortisone injection into it last Monday. Had about a week off after the injection and everything has been progressing nicely. There’s no pain. I’m taping it just as a precaution, so you’ll see some tape on my thumb and I’ve been icing it a lot.

“To be able to swing pain free now is great. So I’ve been here since last Wednesday practising and playing. I’ve played 36 holes here over the last four days and the hand’s coming up nicely. I’m really looking forward to a nice, solid start.”

Day defeated Frenchman Victor Dubuisson in 23 holes in the Match Play final and was a co-runner-up at Torrey Pines in his first event of the year.

While he has not played since those events, he has been far from idle, honing his game with the Masters’ winner’s green jacket as his goal after finishing third last year at Augusta.

“This week, you really need your short game, so I’ve just been shelling a lot of chip shots and bunker shots and doing a lot of putting and speed putting, because the short game is where you win tournaments, especially this tournament,” he said.

“The course sets up nice for me. I hit the ball pretty long and I hit the ball pretty high. With how the greens are, the undulation on the greens, the speed of the greens, you definitely need to hit it a lot higher than lower.”

Day, a US Open runner-up in 2011 and 2013, also shared second at the 2011 Masters.

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