Garrick Higgo stole the headlines with his third European Tour title at the weekend, and he marched to within one of the world’s top 50 as he climbed to 51st in the latest Official World Golf Ranking list.
Finishing in a share of fourth behind Higgo after a victory of his own last week, Dean Burmester climbed to 93rd on the rankings, up from 107th last week, taking the number of South Africans inside the top 100 to 10.
There are 17 players from this country inside the top 200, and 26 inside the top 300, an incredible feat for such a small nation – small relative to the golfing giants of the world.
Higgo climbed 15 places from last week’s 66th to justifiably attract international attention as possibly the hottest golfer on the planet right now. “It’s unreal,” said Higgo of his meteoric rise. “I can’t believe it has happened so quickly again, but my game has been good so I can believe it as well.
“I have been working really hard on a lot of little things and I have also accepted what works for me and kind of stuck with that. I think that has been a big thing. If I don’t play as well, I don’t look for something.”
On that remarkable run of results for South Africans, he added: “I think we all want to win and all very hungry for a win.”
The other win for a South African came from Wilco Nienaber in the Sunshine Tour’s and Challenge Tour’s Dimension Data Pro-Am in George. It was a long-anticipated title for the big hitting Nienaber, and the appearance it gives him in August’s World Golf Championship-FedEx St Jude Classic will surely turn the heads of fans in the world’s biggest golf market, the United States.
Nienaber’s climb to 131st on the world rankings means he is the 12th best South African player according to that list, with Justin Harding in 126th marginally ahead of him as one of the two players who are next in line to break into the top 100.
Lower down, it was a good week for Charl Schwartzel as he climbed 20 places to 157th after a good showing in the Wells Fargo Championship on the PGA Tour. He finished 14th.
The biggest South African climber of the week inside the world’s top 300 was Oliver Bekker, who shot up 38 places to 285th, courtesy of his share of third in the Dimension Data Pro-Am.
South Africa’s top 10
- Louis Oosthuizen 32 (up 1)
- Christiaan Bezuidenhout 40 (unchanged)
- Garrick Higgo 51 (up 15)
- Erik van Rooyen 75 (down 3)
- Daniel van Tonder 77 (down 2)
- Dylan Frittelli 79 (down 2)
- Brandon Stone 85 (down 1)
- Branden Grace 91 (unchanged)
- Dean Burmester 93 (up 14)
- George Coetzee 98 (down 1)