Olympic Movers and Shakers - Week ending April 24
Marc Leishman of Australia and South African Jaco Van Zyl have both been propelled into the reckoning for places in the Olympic Games golf competition in Rio de Janeiro.
With Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel asking not to be considered for Rio, the potential beneficiaries are Leishman and Van Zyl. Leishman enters the Rankings in 16th place, behind No.1 and fellow countryman, Jason Day.
A delighted Van Zyl is 27th with the leading South African, recent Hilton Head champion Branden Grace, continuing his upward progress into tenth.
Yuta Ikeda of Japan produced a masterclass performance in front of his home fans to win the Panasonic Open Golf Championship by three shots after closing with a six-under-par 65. That success enabled the 30-year-old to take his place in the Olympic Rankings at No.33 alongside Hideki Matsuyama (11th) with Shingo Katayama dropping out of the top 60.
Charley Hoffman edged out Patrick Reed on the PGA Tour to claim the Valero Texas Open while Korean Soomin Lee won the Shenzhen International on the European Tour. Neither player figures on the Olympic Rankings but are moving in the right direction.
“It’s a great privilege and an honour to be able to represent my country on such a big stage. It will be very special for me to be able to look back one day and remember participating in the Olympics. Initially, I thought my chances of playing were slim, but when it became clear that I could play, I made sure I did all the paperwork!” Jaco Van Zyl
“I pride myself that I play this game to get into contention. Just the way you react and, sort of, be able to maintain composure. To be able to close the door like I did, it's a very good, gratifying feeling.” Charley Hoffman
“ I'm really happy and really excited. This is really good for me and really good for my golf life.” Soomin Lee
Haru Nomura joined her fellow countryman, Yuta Ikeda, in the winner’s circle in an impressive weekend for Japanese professional golf.
Nomura recorded a nine-under-par total of 279 for a four shot victory in the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic Presented by CTBC to jump four spots on the Road to Rio, from 18th to 14th place in the Rankings. Japan’s other Olympic contender, Shiho Oyama, is currently 20th, having replaced Mika Miyazato in the Rankings.
Denmark’s Nanna Koerstz Madsen enters the Rankings in 37th, taking the place of Emily Kristine Pedersen.
There was no change at the top of the Rankings with tied sixth finishes for Lydia Ko and Lexi Thompson which keep them at No.1 and No.3 respectively, with Korean Inbee Park in second position.
“You know, when I came into this year, I had two goals - to win an LPGA tournament and also win a major tournament. Now I've won two tournaments LPGA this year, so I think my goal now is to win a major.” Haru Nomura.
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