South Africa's Charl Schwartzel returned to one of his favorite places in the golf world on the weekend, and the resulting, and somewhat predictable, victory has vaulted him back into the Top Ten of Razzball.com's Fantasy Golf Rankings. The 31-year old from Johannesburg won his fourth Alfred Dunhill Championship and his 10th European Tour title on Sunday with a 4-shot victory over France's Gregory Bourdy. Schwartzel's previous wins in the event came in 2004, 2012 and 2013. He's finished in the top two in the tournament eight of the 12 years it's been played at the Leopard Creek Country Club. The win moved the 2011 Masters Champion into 8th place in the weekly Fantasy Golf Rankings, up from 26th place the previous week. It was also Schwartzel's second consecutive top five finish after his T4 at the DP World Tour Championships in Dubai the previous week.
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Matt Jones of Australia survived a near disastrous start, that included a double bogey and a triple bogey on a nervous front nine, to hold off two world number ones and win the 2015 Emirates Australian Open. The 35-year old Jones finished up with an unlikely two-over par 73 and a one shot victory over the current number one player in the world, Jordan Spieth and former world #1 Adam Scott. Jones started his final round in the worst possible way, bogeying the first hole and making a double on the par-3 second. The Sydney native recovered with birdies on the fourth and six holes, but gave them back with triple bogey seven on the par-4 ninth, to go out in 4 over par, 39, six-under par for the tournament. Jones settled himself on the back nine, holing a bunker shot on #12 for par, before making birdies on 14 and 16 to claim his first win on the Australasian Tour and a second worldwide win, to go with his victory in the 2014 Shell Houston Open.
I wasn't always pretty, but a late rally by world number one Jordan Spieth has kept him in contention, after three rounds of the Emirates Australian Open. Spieth made four bogies in a sloppy front side 36 and looked to be fading out of a challenging position heading into Sunday's final round. "I made a couple of bad swings and a couple of bad decisions," Spieth said. "Not many pars." But the reigning Masters and U.S. Open champion stormed back with three birdies and an eagle to shoot 31 on the inward nine. His 4-under par 67 moved him into second place and within three shots of leader Matt Jones of Australia.
On a quiet Friday, with no action on the PGA Tour, let's look around and see what's happening around the world that could impact future fantasy golf decisions, in our Fantasy Golf Notes.
World # 1022 Leads Australian OpenIf you haven't heard of Lincoln Tighe, don't sweat it. Even a lot of dedicated golf fans would be unfamiliar with the name. Currently ranked 1022nd in the Official World Golf Ranking, Tighe's best finish this year on the Australasian Tour was a T27 at the Coca-Cola Queensland PGA Championship. To be fair, he did have a win last year on the Aussie Tour at the New South Wales PGA Championship, his one and only career win. That lack of form didn't deter the 26-year old on Thursday at the Emirates Australian Open, as his opening round 5-under par 66 gave him a one shot lead over fellow Aussie Matthew Jones. Tighe had seven birdies and a pair of bogies over the par-71 on the Australian Golf Club Rosebery layout.
A win at the European Tour's DP World Tour Championship has moved Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy into the top spot in Razzball.com Fantasy Golf Rankings, after weekend action. McIlroy fired a final round 66 to take the title and jump 22 spots in this week's ranking, from 23rd to 1st. The former #1 ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking, closed the gap on World number one Jordan Spieth and #2 Jason Day, making it a tight three-way race at the top of the World List and setting up an interesting stretch heading into 2016's first major in Augusta in April.
Reed Moves to Number TwoOn the Razzball index, the 26-year old has a lead of over 400 points over American Patrick Reed, who moves up one spot in the rankings to #2. Reed has five consecutive Top 10 finishes since the PGA Tour Championship, including a T10 in Dubai.
It's Monday and welcome to another edition of Fantasy Golf Notes for the week ending November 22nd. Here are five things that got our attention this past weekend.
1) If at First...or Second or Third or Fourth...You Don't Succeed, Try AgainWhat might have ended as a season of frustration for Kevin Kisner, finished as a campaign of triumph and remarkable achievement. With his convincing win at the RSM Classic on Sunday, Kisner moved up to a career high 17th in the Official World Golf Ranking, an amazing jump of 219 places since the end of 2014. A year that could have been all about near misses and not getting the job done, is now about joining the game's elite and a first trip to Augusta. Watching how the 31-year old follows up his breakout season promises to be one of the more interesting storylines of 2016.
2) McIlroy the Early Masters' Favorite?Speaking of Augusta, I think it's probably safe to say that, after his win at the European Tour finale in Dubai, Rory McIlroy has re-established himself as the early favorite to claim his first Green Jacket in April. Overshadowed by the Jordan, Jason and Rickie show last summer and hobbled by injury that left him less than 100% for the PGA Championship and the PGA Tour Playoffs, the young Irishman shot 66 on Sunday to beat a stellar field. The golfing press has turned his expected period of dominance into the era of the Big Three and the 26-year old will be keen to once again establish himself as the top dog.
Sea Island, Georgia - Is this finally his time? After several well documented, near misses this year, Kevin Kisner is in position again to record his first PGA Tour title. The 31-year old made seven birdies and a bogey on the tough Seaside layout at Sea Island to shoot 64 and take a three-shot lead heading into Sunday's final round of the RSM Classic. “Just another solid day,” Kisner said. “I've been striking it nicely all week and continue to give myself a lot of chances for birdie. Today I capitalized on a few of them. Hit it close on two out of the last three and made the nice long one on the last hole. Hopefully I can keep it going.”
Sea Island, Georgia - In a year that seems to favor first-time winners, Kevin Chappell wants to join the party. The 29-year old Californian is halfway there, after a 5-under 65, on Sea Island's Seaside Course, gave him a 36-hole total of 131, 11-under par, and a one-shot lead over Freddie Jacobson of Sweden and first round leader Kevin Kisner. The UCLA alum had three birdies on the front side, and had a birdie and a bogey on the back before making eagle on the par-5 15th, on the par 70 layout. Chappell said the key to his success is his feeling of comfort with the venue. ''For me, the sight lines work. The wind tends to blow out of one direction. There are a lot of things that are comforting to me and allow me to play well.''
Sea Island, Georgia - Maybe this is the time the first win finally happens for Kevin Kisner. The 31-year old native of Aiken, South Carolina has been a runner-up five times already in 2015, and is still looking for that breakthrough victory. He took a good first step toward that goal on Thursday, firing a 7-under par 65 on the Plantation Course to take a one shot lead, over a group of eight players, in the opening round of the RSM Classic at the Sea Island Resort. Kisner had five birdies and an eagle on the 8th hole, his 17th, in his bogey-free round. Despite the disappointment of all the near misses, the University of Georgia grad is happy with his game.
Sea Island, Georgia - Three past champions are among our RSM Classic picks, as the tour returns to the Seaside Course at Sea Island, Georgia. The event was formerly known as the McGladrey Classic. 2014 champion Robert Streb, 2013 winner Chris Kirk and 2011 victor Ben Crane are among our choices this week, which, for the first time, are divided into four tiers, based on a player's Draft Kings' (DK) salary. Here are our choices: