Karrie Webb suddenly has a challenger to her Olympic dreams.
Melbourne’s Su Oh, who turned 20 on Monday, got her fair share of birthday bonuses after her best career LPGA Tour finish, a second place at the Kingsmill Championship in Virginia.
Along with the near $US120,000 cheque and effective guarantees of playing rights through 2016 and 2017, Oh’s world ranking took a quantum leap after her closing 65 left her just one stroke shy of Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn.
Oh had been hoping the result would be enough to qualify her for the four-strong Australian team for the upcoming International Crown team event in Chicago, where she might be able to play with Webb, the idol of her youth.
But when the Rolex Rankings were updated, the Victorian had leapt 104 places to 61st – now just 13 rungs beneath seven-time major champion Webb at 48th.
It is now a very real proposition that Oh could unseat Webb – for so long the poster girl of Olympic golf – in the race to Rio and join world No.12 Minjee Lee in the green and gold.
Bar one week, Oh has a full schedule of events up to and including the Women’s US Open which ends on July 10 (American time), the day before Olympic teams are finalised. Webb is not in the field for this week’s Volvik Championship in Michigan.
Another factor working in Oh’s favour is that, as a rookie on the LPGA Tour, she’s not defending any points in the world rankings with every cut made working in her favour.
The men's Games race is equally intriguing with Marcus Fraser (ranked 68) just 13 spots ahead of Australian Open champion Matt Jones (81) for the second berth behind Jason Day, with veteran Scott Hend on 85 right in the mix, too.
Others in contention are John Senden (103), Steve Bowditch (115) and Cameron Smith (124).
Click here for current Australian rankings.