Olympic Movers and Shakers – Week Ending June 12
Five in – five out. The Road to Rio became a little rockier for some and more positive for others as the fall-out from the second women’s major championship of the year, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, produced a very different landscape from the previous week.
Canada’s Brooke Henderson became the youngest winner of the event at Sahalee Country Club, when she overturned a three stroke deficit over the back nine on the final day to deny Lydia Ko a second straight major.
In doing so, the 18-year-old reached her highest position on the Olympic Golf Rankings by displacing Korea’s Inbee Park at No.2 thanks to a birdie at the first hole of a play-off against Ko. However, the New Zealander remains at the head of the pack at No.1 in the Rankings.
In the frame to fill one of the 60 spots in the Olympic field are Su-Hyun Oh of Australia, a new entrant at No.21 at the expense of the great Karrie Webb. Amy Yang’s seventh place in Salahee brought her back into the reckoning in eighth spot, with Ha-Na Jang dropping out. Also in are Gerina Pillar of the USA in 13th place, Japan’s Shiho Oyama in 22nd and Tiffany Chang of Hong Kong in 58th. Currently out of the frame are Webb, Jang, Mika Miyazato of Japan, Albane Valenzuela of Switzerland and Ireland’s Stephanie Meadow.
”The Olympics to me is kind of like the sixth major on the LPGA Tour. The LPGA has five extremely strong events on the schedule and every time you mention a major championship it kind of sends shivers down your back little bit. It's really important to me (to play in Rio) and I think everybody else competing this week. So to choose one over the other, I don't think I can do that.” Brooke Henderson.
“I think it's amazing. I think it shows how much golf is growing as a sport. It's an amazing experience to be able to say you're an Olympian. The team is picked July 11th, so I still have some golf to play. It's an honor to represent your country in any tournament, but to be an Olympian is the had highest honor.” Lexi Thompson, USA’s highest ranked player in the Olympic Rankings.
Two for Wu
There was distinctly less moving and shaking in the men’s section of the Olympic Rankings. However, it was a rewarding week for Ashun Wu of China, who registered his second win on the European Tour by capturing the Lyoness Open powered by Sportlife Cashback Card in Austria.
Wu, who broke through in 2015 by winning the Volvo China Open in his native country, took the title by one stroke from Spain’s Adrian Otaegui with a final round 69 and a 13 under par total of 275. That victory enabled him to displace WC Liang and re-enter the Olympic reckoning in 37th place.
Meanwhile Taipei’s Wen-Tang Lin was nudged out of the top 60 by Italy’s Nino Bertasio, who joined the Race to Rio in the final spot.
“My game is coming together and everything is going in the right direction to keep competing at the highest level. That’s two top tens in the last three weeks, which has been great so there is a lot to look forward to for the rest of the year.” Ashun Wu.
Berger king in Memphis
Daniel Berger of the United States claimed his first PGA Tour victory in the FedEx St Judge Classic in Memphis, fending off the challenges of some tough competitors in Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker, Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson to land that eagerly-awaited title.
The 23 year old Berger took some gentle ribbing during a fourth round rain delay by Mickelson, who questioned if the Rookie of the Year crown had ever been won without the recipient winning a title. Berger ensured the question was redundant a few hours later with a 13-under-par total of 267. Mickelson, Stricker and Koepka tied for second three shots adrift with Johnson in fifth place. Johnson remains No.6 in the Rankings.
"To get it done today means a lot, with so many great players, Hall of Famers behind me. It's something that I'll never forget and I just love the way I hung in there and was able to get it done. It means the world to me .” Daniel Berger.
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