Cameron Davis – Mathematically, Australia’s biggest mover in 2021 amongst top 100 – image Getty /PGA Tour

Australian golfers have finished the 2021 year with six men inside the top 100 of the World Golf Ranking and five women inside the top 100 of the Rolex World Ranking but amongst the men it has been Min Woo Lee and Cameron Davis who have made the biggest jump in standing mathematically while Lydia Ko and Stephanie Kyriacou are the big movers amongst the women.

Cameron Smith in 21st place improves from 27th twelve months ago, Marc Leishman has dropped to 36th after being 29th at this time last year, Lucas Herbert is now 41st compared to his 70th position on Dec 31st 2020, Adam Scott has dropped to 46th from 21st, Min Woo Lee is up to 49th from 172nd and Cameron Davis is now 79th from 229th.

For the women Lydia Ko bounced back from an indifferent couple of seasons to finish the year in 3rd place behind Nelly Korda and Jin Young Ko, Minjee Lee has improved to 7th from 8th twelve months ago, Hannah Green has slipped to 26th after being 18th last year, Stephanie Kyriacou is 75th from 141st last year.

The actual numbers do not tell the full story however as it could be said that by winning on both the European and PGA Tours, Herbert has advanced his cause perhaps more than any of the others amongst the men.

Herbert’s win at the Irish Open at Mount Juliet in July was followed five months later with a win in just his third start as a PGA Tour cardholder having gained his playing rights for that tour via the Korn Ferry Tour Finals in September.

Lee’s win at the Scottish Open in July was his second on the European Tour having won the Vic Open eighteen months earlier but he would also add a runner-up finish at the Andalucia Masters in 2021 and finished 6th in the Race to Dubai standings.

Sydney’s Cameron Davis, a former World Amateur and Australian Open Champion, has promised much in his professional career and he finally delivered with a win at the Rocket Mortgage Classic on the PGA Tour. The victory was one of only two top tens in 2021 but there is little doubting the talent of the 26-year-old and more is expected from him in 2022.

Of the higher ranked Australians Cameron Smith has finished the year atop the Australasians and although he did not win individually in 2021 (he joined with Marc Leishman to win in New Orleans) his greater consistency elevated his standing to his best ever year-ending position although earlier in December he did reach a career high of 20th.

Smith finished runner-up on two occasions and was eight times inside the top ten so that he heads the Australasians is no real surprise.

In 22 starts in 2021, Marc Leishman was inside the top ten on five occasions but 3rd was the best he could do (other than his joint non-ranking win with Smith) and he would slip to 36th after finishing 2020 in 29th place.

Adam Scott missed only one cut in 21 starts this year but although he finished runner-up at the Wyndham Championship there was little else show for his year and would eventually drop 25 posts from his end of 2020 position and, at 46th, he has his lowest ranking since mid-2018.

While some Australians have seen a significant rise in rankings the most notable heading in the other direction is the former world number one Jason Day. Day’s current ranking of 123rd is his worst or lowest ranking since prior to his maiden PGA Tour victory at the 2010 Byron Nelson Championship.

Despite two top tens in 2021, Day slipped 80 spots from his standing this time last year.

On the women’s side of things, Lydia Ko heads the standings of Australasian golfers, continuing a comeback from her lowly 55th ranking in mid-2020 to now stand in 3rd place. Ko’s remarkable year in 2021 consisted of 14 top tens including two victories and two runner-up finishes.

Lydia Ko – continued remarkable bounce back in 2021 – photo LET

Minjee Lee broke through for her first major title at the Evian Championship, but would improve only one place to 7th from her standing this time last year. One win and two runner-up finishes, however, enabled her to maintain a position well inside the top ten.

Hannah Green slipped to 26th from 18th, although she did reach a high of 13th following two very good finishes in Asia earlier in the year. The last few months however would see not one top ten in her last seven starts but as one of only four Australian females to win a major title she can expect a better return in 2022 especially given she took a long break mid-year to return to Australia.

Stephanie Kyriacou won her second tournament on the Ladies European Tour when successful in The Netherlands mid-year and then gained her LPGA Tour playing rights late in the year via the Q Series qualifying.

The Sydney golfer is expected to continue her rapid progress in 2022 and her current 75th place standing could well be a lot higher in twelve months’ time.

Su Oh won a domestic event in Australia early in the year and made the cut in most of the events he played on the LPGA Tour but there were very few high finishes and she essentially maintained the same ranking she had 12 months ago.

So, for Australasian golfers, there have been winners and losers in 2021, but the continuing progress of emerging players such as Minwoo Lee, Lucas Herbert, Cameron Davis and Stephanie Kyriacou will be watched with interest in the year ahead.

Stephanie Kyriacou – 75 with a bullet in Rolex rankings  – photo LET  

Australasian rankings men

Rolex Rankings