Date: May 14, 2018
Author: Mark Hayes

Young Aussies charge up world rankings

Neither quite posted the `W’, but you get the feeling neither Lucas Herbert nor Cam Davis are far away from breaking their big tour ducks.

Bendigonian Herbert, who has been on a tear since late autumn, remarkably rose to No.143 in the world rankings without a top-level tour’s playing card to his name when he finished tied third on the European Tour’s Rocco Forte Open in Sicily.

Herbert, 22, roared home with a final-round best eight-under-par 63, including seven birdies in his last 11 holes, to come within a stroke of a playoff eventually won by Sweden’s Joakim Lagergren.

The result gave Herbert, who has playing rights in Australia, China and Canada but not yet on an elite-level tour, an equal-best T3 finish in Europe. More importantly, it gave him another ticket to play this week at the rebadged national championship now known as the Belgium Knockout.

Amazingly, Herbert’s world ranking has climbed from No.708 after last year’s Queensland Open all the way to within sight of the top 100. Even more incredible is that he’s done that without a victory, but now six top-10s including three on the European Tour.

Across the Atlantic, Sydneysider Davis almost followed suit a few hours later.

The reigning Australian Open champion climbed to a career high No.157 on the world rankings after a lovely weekend at the Knoxville Open on the Web.Com Tour.

After winning his national championship at The Australian in November, Davis has also enjoyed a string of top-10 finishes, and now back-to-back top-20 finishes on the US PGA Tour’s secondary schedule.

Davis opened at Knoxville with a 70, but then shone with rounds of 69-67-67 that left him just five behind champion Stephan Jaeger, of Germany, and with his second best finish in his first two years as a professional.

Capping a stellar weekend for Australian golf, Queenslanders Jason Day (T5) and Adam Scott (T11) were both prominent at the Players Championship on the US PGA Tour, with Marc Leishman (T63) also inside the cut line.

Day, a week after his second win on the season at the Wells Fargo Championship, is now comfortably second on the FedEx Cup rankings, behind only new world No.1, American Justin Thomas.