He didn’t get himself into the Masters, but Branden Grace’s solid showing last week in the Valero Texas Open on the PGA Tour lifted him two places on the Official World Golf Ranking list to 78th.
Grace finished in a share of 23rd behind a resurgent Jordan Spieth, who has rounded nicely into what appears to be his best form ahead of the Masters. Spieth was irresistible with his closing six-under-par 66, while Grace signed for a four-under 68 to finish four-under for the week, 14 shots behind the winner.
Grace was one of two South Africans inside the world’s top 100 who improved his ranking – the other was Erik van Rooyen, who also had a good week in Texas, with his closing one-under 71 seeing him finish in a share of 14th behind Spieth, and lifting him to 62nd on the world rankings. That was a one-place climb.
The top-ranked South African, Louis Oosthuizen, slipped one position to 28th, which is now six spots lower than his starting position for 2021. Christiaan Bezuidenhout remains South Africa’s second-ranked player at 35th, with Dylan Frittelli, unchanged in 68th, the fourth-ranked player behind Van Rooyen. All three of Oosthuizen, Bezuidenhout and Frittelli will be at Augusta this week, together with 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel.
Daniel van Tonder (74 – down one), George Coetzee (84 – down two) and Brandon Stone (97 – down one) remain inside the world’s top 100 despite a week on inactivity which was responsible for their losing ground.
There are three South Africans within striking distance of the world’s top 100: Garrick Higgo is unchanged in 114th, Shaun Norris is down one in 119th and Justin Harding is down one in 122nd. Higgo and Harding will be in action in next week’s Austrian Open on the European Tour, which will give them a chance to get closer to the 100th spot.
South Africa’s top 10:
- Louis Oosthuizen 28 (down 1)
- Christiaan Bezuidenhout 35 (unchanged)
- Erik van Rooyen 62 (up 1)
- Dylan Frittelli 68 (unchanged)
- Daniel van Tonder 74 (down 1)
- George Coetzee 84 (down 2)
- Brandon Stone 97 (down 1)
- Garrick Higgo 114 (unchanged)
- Shaun Norris 119 (down 1)
- Justin Harding 122 (down 1)