Olympic Golf Rankings update: Byeong Hun An, Sungjae Im continue to battle for position

With mere weeks remaining prior to the finalization June 17 of the field for the men’s Olympic golf competition, the jockeying for position between countrymen continues to heat up.

Perhaps the most evident example exists between South Koreans Byeong Hun An and Sungjae Im, who have been flip-flopping within the rankings over the past three weeks. The latest “chess move” belonged to An, who finished T4 at THE CJ CUP Byron Nelson to leap ahead in the Olympic Golf Ranking (OGR), the all-important metric as the June 17 deadline looms. The high finish came at the same event where Im was a late withdrawal, opening the door for An. Both players trail likely Olympic qualifier Tom Kim, who sits inside the top 15.

While he has yet to crack the top 60 in the men’s OGR, Canada’s Taylor Pendrith was another big mover in the rankings after a breakthrough victory at THE CJ CUP. Like South Korea, Canada’s hopefuls – especially those vying for the coveted second position – are tightly bunched. Nick Taylor and Adam Hadwin currently occupy the top two spots, but Corey Conners, Mackenzie Hughes and most recently Pendrith remain in striking position, particularly of Hadwin’s current position in second.

Countries can have more than two representatives only if they have more than two players within the top 15 of the OGR (with a limit of four), a threshold that only the United States (four) has met thus far. Team USA features four players inside the top eight in the Official World Golf Ranking including world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, No. 3 Wyndham Clark, No. 4 Xander Schauffele and No. 8 Patrick Cantlay.

With two events this week on the PGA TOUR (Wells Fargo Championship and Myrtle Beach Classic) and the 106th PGA Championship on the horizon next week, ample opportunities are still available for players to lock in a trip to Paris this summer.

Team USA, Korea suffer numbers shakeup in women’s rankings

The women’s Olympic Golf Ranking has seen some movement in recent weeks, particularly inside the top 15. While Team USA’s Nelly Korda has a firm grasp on the No. 1 spot, both in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings and the Olympic standings, several players have moved in and fallen out of the top 15 since the LPGA Tour last competed at the JM Eagle LA Championship in late April.

American Alison Lee, who held the 15th spot in the rankings on April 29 and was Team USA’s fourth representative in the top 15, dropped out of the most recent top 60 standings, replaced by Dewi Weber of the Netherlands, who currently is No. 52 in the standings.

Lee was knocked out of the top 15 by Sweden’s Maja Stark, a player whose back-to-back runner-up finishes at The Chevron Championship and the JM Eagle LA Championship presented by Plastpro propelled her to No. 15 in the Rolex Rankings. Stark now stands as the highest-ranked Swedish player in the Olympic Golf Ranking and sits ahead of Linn Grant, who is currently No. 21 in the Olympic standings and No. 30 in the world.

South Korea also suffered a shake up after Amy Yang slipped out of the top 15 in the Rolex Rankings a couple of weeks ago, dropping the country from three representatives to just two players currently qualified for the Paris Olympics, Jin Young Ko and Hyo Joo Kim. China and Australia are the only other two countries with two or more players in the top 15 of the Olympic Golf Ranking. Only the United States is poised to have more than two representatives in the field, with three players inside the top 15 of the OGR (with a limit of four): Korda, No. 2 Lilia Vu and No. 14 Megan Khang.

One other change of note is Filipino Dottie Ardina’s replacement of Moroccan Ines Laklalech in the top 60. Both players are aiming to qualify for their first Olympics.