It was another surging weekend on the Official World Golf Ranking for the South Africans after Darren Fichardt saw off foreign interest at the Eye of Africa PGA Championship and Louis Oosthuizen managed an impressive top five at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
His playoff victory over Matias Calderon from Chile gave the 40-something a significant rankings boost. The five-time European Tour winner went into the weekend in 409th position but now sits in 254th place after adding R317 000 to his account. His third round 65 moved him to the top of the leaderboard at the PGA Champs and a solid round of 68 on Sunday saw him into the playoff where he held his composure to run out as the deserved winner.
His fifth place finish in the lucrative Rolex Series event in Abu Dhabi on Sunday saw him remain in sixth place in the Race to Dubai, adding €266 546 (R4 307 729) to his purse. The real benefit of his solid outing was the climb from 18th to 14th in the rankings; his highest ranking since May 2016. Oosthuizen seems to be a determined man these days and his iron play is helping put himself into good positions to score. A small improvement on the greens could make all the difference in 2020.
Unfortunately, he relinquished his spot as the leader of the Race to Dubai after Lee Westwood claimed a two-stroke victory in Abu Dhabi, but Grace remains in second position ahead of Matthew Fitzpatrick following his T17. Grace still pocketed €79 838 (R1 286 737) from the event and moved up a further three places on the rankings to 70th after last week’s update following his win at the SA Open.
He was the co-overnight leader in Abu Dhabi after the first round but unfortunately a 77 on Friday saw him plummet down the leaderboard. He recovered well, though, to finish T6 after a final round 65, which handed him a hefty cheque worth some €204 310 (R3 299 518). It also saw him edge ever closer to moving into the top 50 in the world after climbing six spots to 54th. The 37-year-old seems to be eager to make 2020 a special year on the European Tour.
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