Although he was always going to battle to replicate his victory from a week earlier, Branden Grace performed solidly on the PGA Tour last week to continue his climb back up the Official World Golf Ranking.
He finished the Arnold Palmer Invitation al at Bay Hill in a share of 34th after a poor start left him with plenty of work to do if he was going to contend. And any possibility of final-round fireworks was negated by tough winds making scoring difficult, but he improved by eight places on the world list to 75th.
He’s got his work cut out for him if he is to make it into the field for the Masters, but he does have the Players Championship this week – popularly the ‘fifth major’ amongst particularly the US pros – to put in another good performance and continue on his upward trend. Getting into the top 50 as soon as possible before the week before the Masters would get him to Augusta National on April 5.
Christiaan Bezuidenhout was the best South African performer at Bay Hill with his seventh-place finish, and he climbed three places back to his career-high of 34.
Also up were George Coetzee and Brandon Stone in those eternal quirks of the ranking system, because they were inactive last week. But they will both be in action in Qatar this week as the European Tour creaks back into action after a break.
Garrick Higgo, Shaun Norris and Daniel van Tonder were all marginally down, while South Africa’s top player, Louis Oosthuizen, remained unchanged in 22nd spot. Also unchanged were Erik van Rooyen and Dylan Frittelli.
South Africa’s top 10:
- Louis Oosthuizen 22 (unchanged)
- Christiaan Bezuidenhout 34 (up 3)
- Erik van Rooyen 63 (unchanged)
- Dylan Frittelli 68 (unchanged)
- Branden Grace 75 (up 8)
- George Coetzee 79 (up 3)
- Brandon Stone 103 (up 1)
- Garrick Higgo 107 (down 1)
- Shaun Norris 112 (down 4)
- Daniel van Tonder 158 (down 2)