• Grace dislodges Oosthuizen as SA’s number one

    Branden Grace
    Grace leads the Saffa charge this week

    Branden Grace has dislodged Louis Oosthuizen as the top-ranked South African while Dylan Frittelli moved inside the top 50 for the first time in his career, writes WADE PRETORIUS.

    2017 Nedbank Golf Challenge winner Branden Grace has overtaken Oosthuizen for the first time since May 2017 after his third solid week on the European Tour.

    Grace moved up two spots to 27th with Oosthuizen dropping four places to 29th. Charl Schwartzel is third, from a local perspective, in 38th place – down three places.

    The 29-year-old’s ranking boost will give him added relief after he narrowly lost out to Chris Paisley at the BMW SA Open earlier in January. Grace followed that result up with a T15 performance in Abu Dhabi and T37 in Dubai last week.

    His Desert Swing was undone by two slow final round performances (73 and 75) but he will take confidence as he ramps up his pre-Masters preparation on the PGA TOUR.

    Oosthuizen, who has not won since the ISPS HANDA Perth International in 2016, started well in Singapore two weeks ago but struggled on the weekend before going on to miss the cut last week. He continues to deliver solid results in Majors and WGC events and has shown enough signs to point to a return to the winner’s circle in 2018.

    Frittelli’s story continues to gain traction as the two-time European Tour winner moved into the top 50 for the first time following his T6 finish at the Emirates GC as he now prepares to cement his place inside the elite band with an eye on securing a spot at The Masters.

    Key dates for Frittelli are 25 March – where the top 50 not yet invited gain a place in the Masters field, mid-February where the top 50 qualify for the WGC-Mexico Championship and 12 March – where the top 64 tee it up at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

    The other big movers were Rory McIlroy and Farmers Insurance Open winner Jason Day, who returned to the top 10 after a brief hiatus. McIlroy continues his good work following three months on the sidelines and moved up to 8th place after finishing second to Haotong Li (now 32nd).

    Day, who outlasted Alex Noren (up to 16th), is one place behind McIlroy after his triumph on Monday.

    Top 10 South African rankings:

    27. Branden Grace
    29. Louis Oosthuizen
    38. Charl Schwartzel
    47. Dylan Frittelli
    102. Shaun Norris
    134. Richard Sterne
    135. Erik Van Rooyen
    136. Dean Burmester
    141. George Coetzee
    166. Haydn Porteous

    Full OWGR here!

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