SA trio up there with the best

AMAZING Branden Grace is the country's highest ranked player in the world. Picture: Gallo Images
AMAZING Branden Grace is the country's highest ranked player in the world. Picture: Gallo Images

South Africa’s top three golfers – Branden Grace, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel – are stamping their authority on the world golf rankings.

With the European Tour season coming to an end after the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai from November 17 to 20, they are already showing signs of finishing in the top 30 world standings, a marked improvement compared with last year.

They campaign on the PGA, European and Sunshine tours.

Latest rankings released this week show that the 28-year-old Grace, at number 13, is the country’s top-placed player globally.

He retained the end of last week’s berth, from 14th a fortnight ago.

He finished tied at 32 at the PGA Tour’s BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Indiana, last Sunday to improve his FedExCup points.

He was rated 18th after the Race to Dubai Championships last year.

His remarkable feat on the PGA Tour this season saw him capture the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links in South Carolina by beating Englishman Luke Donald by two shots.

Oosthuizen (33) occupies the 20th spot, after falling from 18th where he was placed last week.

The 2010 British Open champion rounded out last year’s calender at number 15.

He came tied eighth at the Deutsche Bank Championship in Massachusetts two weeks ago, and finished at a joint 17th at the BMW Championship last weekend.

His best showing on the US fairways this year was coming second at the World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play at Austin Country Club in Texas in March.

The showdown was won by the current world number one, Jason Day of Australia.

Schwartzel (32) was on the 25th spot this week, shifting from 28th last week.

His rating marks a refinement, considering that he was marked 50th at the end of last year.

The erstwhile US Masters champion has made great strides this year. He captured the Valspar Golf Championship at Palm Harbor, Florida, in March by beating American Bill Hass on a play-off.

His other notable showing on the PGA was finishing tied third at the CVS Health Charity Classic at Rhode Island in Barrington
in June.

Jaco van Zyl finds himself in a precarious situation as he is ranked 83rd.

He finished on the 78th spot last year.

Sunshine Tour executive director Selwyn Nathan is optimistic that the leading trio will improve their world rankings ahead of the Race to Dubai contest.

“They have been doing well on both the PGA and European tours. We are optimistic that they will move up the rankings further before the end of November,” said Nathan.

There are a few more European Tour contests to be played before the Race to Dubai (see box).

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