Olympic Movers and Shakers – Week Ending June 19
After a number of close calls and some tough days at the office, Dustin Johnson finally landed that elusive major title at Oakmont, and in the process climbed into the top three in the Olympic Golf Rankings for the first time.
Johnson is tucked in behind Jason Day and Jordan Spieth at No.3 after winning the US Open, squeezing Rory McIlroy into fourth spot as the Road to Rio edges ever closer.
McIlroy, Bubba Watson (fifth) and Rickie Fowler (sixth) all drop back one place, while Ireland’s Shane Lowry – who led by four strokes going into the last round – has jumped to No.13 on the strength of his tie for second place behind Johnson, who finished on a four under par score of 276.
Martin Kaymer of Germany moves up two spots to No.23 while newcomers to the top 60 – making timely upward moves – are Australian Scott Hend, new at No.31 with Marcus Fraser dropping out, and Frenchman Gregory Bourdy, whose share of 18th at Oakmont, played a huge part in him ousting Alexander Levy in 35th spot.
“I couldn't be more excited, more happy, and more proud of myself, especially with the things that happened last year at the U.S. Open on the 18th hole. To come back this year and to get it done, it's definitely bitter sweet. It was a lot of fun.” Dustin Johnson, 2016 US Open champion.
“I think it would be fantastic to be able to be in and around Olympians. They wait four years to be able to compete for their country, and fortunately, golf's in it this year, and I think it would be a fantastic honour to go play.” Danny Willett, 2016 Masters champion.
“Right now, I'm pretty confident with what we've heard, from not only the PGA Tour but our personal outreach, and I think being an Olympian is just an absolute tremendous honour. It seems like it's going to be an extremely memorable experience and I look forward to trying to win a gold for the United States. Jordan Spieth, 2015 Masters and US Open champion.
Kim keeps the Korean flag flying
Sei Young Kim of South Korea birdied the first play-off hole to beat Spain’s Carlota Ciganda in the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give at Grand Rapids, Michigan. Victory kept Kim at No.5 on the Olympic Rankings as the second highest ranked Korean behind Inbee Park, who remains at No.3 in the Rankings behind Lydia Ko and Brooke Henderson.
Ciganda is the week’s biggest mover, jumping six places to No.18, with her fellow Spaniard, Azahara Munoz, also joining the upward trend with a move up two places to 21st.
“I’m very happy to win on Father’s Day to be able to give my dad this trophy,” Sei Young Kim.
Nanna Koerstz Madsen of Denmark claimed her first title on the European Ladies Tour with a five shot win over Scotland’s Pamela Pretswell and Stacey Keating of Australia in the Tipsport Golf Masters in Pilsen, Czech Republic. Swiss amateur Albane Valenzuela produced a fine finish to take fourth, which was sufficient to edge out American Gerina Piller.
The result of the penultimate counting event on the LET ahead of the final Olympic Rankings on July 10 provided considerable cheer for Maden and Valenzuela in particular. The Dane, who is involved in a tight race for one of her country’s two places in Rio with Emily Kristine Pedersen, was a big climber from 37th to 32nd while Valenzuela was a re-entry in the top 60 in 52nd.
“Emily and I are playing for the Olympic Games and it would be the biggest experience to go there. I haven’t thought about the Olympic Games yet because I’m thinking about how to get there. This week, of course, was very important to me.” Nanna Koerstz Madsen.
“This is the last tournament that counts so it’s really important for everyone in contention to go. I really want to play and I’ve been dreaming about the Olympic Games since I was five years old.” Noora Tamminen of Finland.
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