Michael Hendry's ranking receives a boost
As if winning the New Zealand PGA Championship on Sunday wasn't enough, Kiwi golf No 1 Mike Hendry has received another boost ahead of his debut in the World Golf Championships event in Florida on Friday (NZT).
Hendry has rocketed inside the top 200 in the world rankings, courtesy of his victory in the PGA Tour of Australasia event at The Hills near Queenstown on Sunday.
The North Harbour professional last month assumed the No 1 spot among New Zealanders when he climbed to No 225 in the world, bolting ahead of Michael Campbell and Danny Lee, and his win at the $550,000 NZ PGA has seen him rise 31 spots to No 194 in the latest rankings, catapulting him inside the top 200 for the first time in his career.
It won't change the fact, however, that Hendry is the lowest ranked golfer in the field of 65 for the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral's famed TPC Blue Monster course in Florida.
Hendry qualified for the elite $US8.5 million event by virtue of his second-placed finish behind Australian veteran Peter Senior on the PGA Tour of Australasia's order of merit in 2012.
The field is limited to the top 50 players in the world plus a few extras, such as players outside the top 50 who had high finishes on the PGA and European Tours last year or are inside the top 10 on this year's order of merit, and the two highest ranked players from lesser tours last year, such as the Japan Tour, Asian Tour, South Africa's Sunshine Tour and the Australasian tour.
It's a big step up from the OneAsia and Australasian tours but Hendry has taken confidence from his form in 2013 - prior to his win last week he was fourth at the Heritage Classic in Victoria and second at the Queensland PGA Championship.
He is paired for the first two rounds with another of the few players outside the top 50 in the world rankings, American Brian Gay, who is ranked 114 but won the Humana Challenge on the PGA Tour in January to be sixth in the 2013 FedEx Cup and book a spot in the field.
They are first off as a pair on Friday morning (NZT), with the other 63 players in 21 groups of three.
Gay has a Kiwi connection, with his swing coach being former touring professional Grant Waite.
The headline group features Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and Luke Donald, the top three players in the world.
- © Fairfax NZ News