Harding, Kruger the big world ranking climbers

Mar 22, 2021 | Featured, South Africans abroad

Big wins for Justin Harding and Jbe’ Kruger over the weekend resulted in big jumps for both on the Official World Golf Ranking, as Harding reversed a downward trend to his position.

Harding’s victory on the European Tour’s Magical Kenya Open in Nairobi saw him jump 74 places on the list into 121st, and into the top 10 South Africans in 10th place at the expense of Daniel van Tonder.

Kruger’s leap was even more impressive: His gritty triumph in the Sunshine Tour’s Gauteng Championship at Ebotse Links gave him a 180-place boost to 289th. While that’s a far cry from the 109th he found himself in after his breakthrough win in the Avantha Masters in 2012, his performance put him on a trajectory he will believe can get him into the world’s top 100.

George Coetzee continued his steady upward climb on the list as he reached 82 after his solid share of 16th in Kenya. He’s now 10 spots higher than he was at the start of the year, and his consistency augurs well for the rest of 2021 – with a spot inside the world’s top 50 a distinct possibility.

Louis Oosthuizen remains South Africa’s top-ranked player, unchanged in 23rd after an inactive week. Christiaan Bezuidenhout was also unchanged after not playing last week, in 35th, but the third-ranked South African, Erik van Rooyen, slipped two spots after an average week at the Honda Classic on the PGA Tour.

It was outside the South African top 10 where some big improvements happened. Martin Rohwer’s runner-up spot in the Gauteng Championship saw him up in 288th, a jump of 128, and Neil Schietekat, who so nearly won, climbed 52 positions in 284th.

There are seven South Africans in the world’s top 100, with Garrick Higgo (108), Shaun Norris (114) and Harding all close to breaking through at that level. There are 14 inside the top 200, and 23 inside the top 300, with Thriston Lawrence in 300th after slipping 14 places after the Gauteng Championship.

South Africa’s top 10:

  1. Louis Oosthuizen 23 (unchanged)
  2. Christiaan Bezuidenhout 35 (unchanged)
  3. Erik van Rooyen 68 (down 2)
  4. Dylan Frittelli 71 (down 2)
  5. Branden Grace 80 (unchanged)
  6. George Coetzee 82 (up 5)
  7. Brandon Stone 95 (up 3)
  8. Garrick Higgo 108 (down 2)
  9. Shaun Norris 114 (down 3)
  10. Justin Harding 121 (up 74)

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