The Star Late Edition
Higgo just one short of the top 50
GARRICK Higgo stole the headlines with his third European Tour title at the weekend, and marched to within one of the world’s top 50.
Finishing in a share of fourth place 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 world’s top 100 to 10.
There are 17 players from this country inside the top 200, and 26 in the top 300, an incredible feat for such a small golfing nation.
Higgo, who will be 22 tomorrow, 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 and Challenge Tour’s Dimension Data Pro-Am in George.
It was a long anticipated title for the big hitting Nienaber, and the place it gives him in August’s WGC-St Jude Classic will surely turn the heads of fans in the US.
Nienaber’s climb to 131st in the world means he is the 12th best SA golfer, 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 SA 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 Di-Data Pro-Am.