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Seven of world’s top 10 golfers headed to Austin for Dell Match Play

Seven of the world’s top 10 golfers accepted their invitations to compete at next week’s Dell Technologies Match Play tournament at Austin Country Club.

The headliners will be Jason Day, last year’s champion, and Dustin Johnson, the world’s top-ranked golfer and winner of last year’s U.S. Open. Former Texas standout Jordan Spieth, who has won two majors, also will be in the field. Other marquee players include 2016 Masters winner Danny Willett and Jimmy Walker, last year’s PGA champion.

The field was solidified Friday. The top 64 in this week’s world golf rankings qualified for the tournament. The players had until Friday afternoon to accept the invitation.

Five declined invitations: Henrik Stenson, who is ranked fifth in the world; Adam Scott (eighth); Rickie Fowler (ninth); Justin Rose (13th); and Adam Hadwin (51st).

The tournament is in its second year in Austin.

Stenson, who won the 2016 British Open, also declined his Austin invite a year ago. Scott, Fowler and Rose suffered upsets by lower-seeded players at last year’s tournament and failed to make it to the round of 16.

Here’s what happens next:

There will be another world rankings list announced Monday. The field then will be divided into four pools of 16 and assigned seedings of one, two, three or four, based on how they are ranked, with the first 16 players being No. 1 seeds, the second 16 being 2s, and so on.

The field will not be affected by this weekend’s PGA tournament, the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in Orlando; players not on the match play list cannot move into the field based on results in that tournament. Players on the list can improve their seeding based on this weekend’s tournament, though.

On Monday night, the matchups will be revealed at a ceremony at Austin’s Hotel Van Zandt. The top 16 players each will be assigned to a pod. There will be a random drawing to determine the other three players for each pod.

Celebrities will be on hand to participate in the draw, including Michael Dell, actor Luke Wilson, former Longhorns football stars Colt McCoy and Earl Campbell, new UT football coach Tom Herman and former coach Mack Brown, along with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and golfers Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite.

The 16 groups will play in a round robin Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to determine the pod winners. The round of 16 and quarterfinals will be played next Saturday. The semifinals and championships are set for the next day.

The players who were added to the field Friday were Jason Dufner (65), K.T. Kim (66), Joost Luiten (67), Pat Perez (68) and Si Woo Kim (69).

Dufner, who will turn 40 next week, won the 2013 PGA Championship. Kim, from South Korea, plays mainly on the Japan and Asian tours. Luiten, from the Netherlands, competes mainly on the European Tour. Perez, a 40-year-old from Arizona, has two professional wins. Kim, from South Korea, has one top-10 finish this season.

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