Brandon Stone’s second-place finish in the European Tour’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic on Sunday shot him 95 places higher on the Official World Golf Ranking list and took him back inside South Africa’s top 10.
He moved to 110th in the world after his battling final round of level-par 72 which saw him grab the runner-up spot behind champion Paul Casey. It was redemption for the South African after what was really just a single bad round in the previous week’s tournament in Abu Dhabi when he missed the cut.
He said it meant a lot to him to have reached such a performance level in the face of the current challenges presented by playing international sport. “I achieved consistency despite the interruptions of last year just by hours and hours of hard work,” he said. “I think just working with my coach Hernan Rey and the structures we put in place a couple of years ago have put that foundation in to perform consistently – it’s all taken shape. Last year was without question my most consistent season and I’m just looking to build on that this year.”
Despite having European Tour victories in each of 2016, 2017 and 2018, he only had two top-10 finishes in 2019. Improving his position on the Race to Dubai from 99th in 2019 to 33rd in 2020 showed he had found some consistency and the finish over the weekend confirmed that for him.
“It’s definitely something to build on and something to help motivate me for the weeks to come and at the moment, as good as this week has been, I’m focusing on Saudi next week and maybe try and grab one or two places better,” he said.
Christiaan Bezuidenhout also climbed in the rankings after his share of 22nd in Dubai. He reached 33rd, a career-high for him, while Dylan Frittelli was the other South African to improve his position as he rose to 66th after he finished in a share of 53rd in the Farmers Insurance Open on the PGA Tour.
Wilco Nienaber fell outside South Africa’s top 10 as he slipped to 140th, while the top-ranked South African, Louis Oosthuizen was down two spots to 26th.
The South African top 10 is:
- Louis Oosthuizen 26 (down 2)
- Christiaan Bezuidenhout 33 (up 2)
- Erik van Rooyen 60 (down 3)
- Dylan Frittelli 66 (up 1)
- George Coetzee 90 (unchanged)
- Garrick Higgo 98 (down 4)
- Brandon Stone 110 (up 95)
- Shaun Norris 119 (down 3)
- Branden Grace 140 (down 5)
- Daniel van Tonder 148 (down 4)