With lucrative events such as WGCs and Majors looming, the Official World Golf Rankings becomes all important. Here we follow the Asian Tour players that are making a charge up the rankings and their quest to play their way into these events via the OWGR.
Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat, currently ranked number 42 on the OWGR, is already eligible for all the above events.
By Olle Nordberg, Former Asian Tour and European Tour professional
While there was no Asian Tour event last week, four of our members recorded wins on other Tours and picked up valuable points and improving their OWGR rankings: Chikkarangappa S. on the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) improving his ranking to 274 from 312, Danthai Boonma on the Japan Challenge Tour moving to number 281 from 358, Maverick Antcliff on the China Tour going to 354 from 487, and Richard T. Lee on the Korean PGA rising to 499 from 1014.
Justin Harding of South Africa
For the players battling to secure tickets to the upcoming Majors, there was not as much movement in the rankings:
Harding missed the cut at the RBC Heritage on the PGA TOUR and drops one spot to number 45, but still has an excellent chance to secure an exemption to the U.S. Open which will be played at the Pebble Beach Golf Links in California from June 13-16. He needs to remain inside the top 60 on the OWGR by either May 20 or June 10, which are the cut-off dates for the exemptions.
Harding will be playing in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans this week, partnering with fellow South African Branden Grace in the $7.3 million two-man team event.
Jazz narrowly missed the cut by one shot in the Token Homemate Cup on the Japan Golf Tour (JGTO) last week. He would slide down three spots in the rankings to 74. He looks to have secured a special invitation to the US PGA Championship at Bethpage Black in New York May 16-19 by being inside the top 100 on the OWGR till May 5.
The next important step on the OWGR for him will be breaking into the top 60 by either May 20 or June 10, for an exemption into the U.S. Open.
Kurt Kitayama (USA)
Kitayama did not play last week and slips three places in the rankings to number 109. His immediate challenge is to break into the top 100 and get a chance for a start in the US PGA Championship.
He will be playing in the Tropee Hassan II this week in Morocco and Volvo China Open next week, and need to make up nine places between now and the cut-off date May 5.
*Trophy shot of Danthai: Photo credits to Japan Golf Tour