Olympic Movers and Shakers – Week Ending June 5

William McGirt of the United States might not be heading to Rio de Janeiro for the Olympic Games, but he is certainly upwardly mobile on the PGA Tour, claiming his first title at the second hole of a play-off against fellow American, Jon Curran, in the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide at Muirfield Village.

There was little movement on the Olympic Golf Rankings as only a few players changed position among the top 60 headed for Brazil in August. Dustin Johnson finished third in the Memorial to climb from seventh to sixth, swapping places with Henrik Stenson, who was playing in Europe. Rory McIlroy tied for fourth to remain at No.3 behind Jason Day and Jordan Spieth.

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“One thing I had always told myself, if I ever won a golf tournament - number one - don't cry. And number two - don't make a fool of yourself. So when I stood over the putt, I told myself, ‘this is what you've dreamed of doing your whole life. You have this opportunity. Hit the best putt you can and see what happens’. Surprisingly, I felt no nerves standing over that putt and poured it right in the middle.” William McGirt.

Matt finish so impressive

Matt Fitzpatrick continued a run of great results in 2016 for English golfers. Following Danny Willett’s success in the Masters and Chris Wood winning the previous week’s BMW PGA Championship, it was the turn of Matt Fitzpatrick to maintain the pattern.

The 21-year-old former US Amateur champion finished three shots clear of Denmark’s Lasse Jensen in Stockholm to win the Nordea Masters on the European Tour. Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts came third to move from 46th to 43rd on the Olympic Rankings with Stenson tied fourth.

Elsewhere, there was encouragement for the host nation in the Olympics, with their sole representative, Adilson da Silva climbing four spots to 51st.

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 “I think it’s going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, something very new for us as golfers. I’ve never been to an Olympic venue (city) so it’s going to be good fun to be there, feel the atmosphere and watch some of the other sports and, of course, to try to make my country proud by hopefully competing for medals. If you can do that, why not go for the ultimate one?

“It (gold) would be huge. Sweden is a proud and strongly supportive nation but we’re not spoiled by winning heaps and heaps of medals in the summer Olympics, so that would be very big. I haven’t won any of the four grand prizes in golf, but I would put it (Olympic gold) right up there next to it.” Henrik Stenson.

The Women:

Anna makes a case for the defence

Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist delivered a strong defence of her title in the Shoprite LPGA Classic Presented by Acer on the LPGA Tour. Rounds of 64-68-64 for a total of 196 tied the tournament record of 17 under par set by her now retired countrywoman, Anneka Sorenstam. Nordqvist jumped from 14th to 12th on the Olympic Rankings while Japan’s Haru Nomuda, who finished a stroke behind, is now 14th, a climb of one place.

Karine Icher of France, who shot a stunning 62 on Sunday for third place, moved up the Rankings from 26th to 24th as the Road to Rio enters the final six weeks.

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“Well, playing in the Olympics has been a dream of mine since it (golf) got introduced to the Olympics back in 2009. It's been a big goal for me, and it's going to be huge getting the honour to represent Sweden in the Olympic Games. I know there's a lot of concerns with the Zika virus, but I trust the doctors.I know the Swedish Olympic Committee, they have a lot of great doctors and medical team behind them. I'm going to listen to them. But other than that, I'm going to go and I'm really excited about it, and I'm doing my best these last couple months to prepare for it.” Anna Norqvist.

 

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