Ranking points a big attraction in Zimbabwe

Jake Roos got a few of them when he won last month, and, as the Sunshine Tour swings into Harare for the R1.5-million Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open this week, he’ll want more Official World Golf Ranking points.

Roos’ victory brought him the lion’s share of the R500,000 purse for the Platinum Classic and the first world ranking points ever allocated to a 54-hole event as the Sunshine Tour’s ‘winter’ events have been recognised by the Official World Golf Rankings body.

Although it was only four points for a win – and 2.4 for second, 1.6 for third and 1.2 for fourth – the international recognition is important for the players and the Sunshine Tour, and it also boosted Roos’ world ranking by 135 positions from 655th to 520th.

And while that not may seem like much when compatriots Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel are enjoying life inside the world’s top 20, the points are of significance to players like Roos who have gambled with playing abroad and battled to succeed.

Defending Zimbabwe Open champion Theunis Spangenberg got himself a haul of 14 points from the event last year, and leapt over 500 places on the Official World Golf Rankings.

Besides the confidence-boost such a windfall can bring, Sunshine Tour players who earn ranking points can also play themselves into the Open Championship, as only players who have points are eligible to play around the world in the International Final Qualifiers for that major.

Roos will want to take the kind of perseverance he exhibited in winning the Platinum Classic onto the fairways of Royal Harare Golf Club, as he will have good competitors offering stern opposition during the week.

While Roos is the only winner on this year’s Sunshine Tour in the field, he will have the likes of Toto Thimba, Ryan Cairns and Johan Bekker, who have all won on the Sunshine Big Easy Tour presented by Stonehage, to contend with.

And Cairns, playing on his home course in his home country in a championship that means the world to him, will be hoping the form he showed while winning in Observatory, Johannesburg last month will come back to him in familiar surroundings.

In the end, all the players know that the pot is considerably sweetened by the world ranking points available.

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