OWGR Watch: Van Rooyen scores emotional victory at WWT, Kuchar, Aberg climb
07 Nov,2023 Credit : Dylan Buell / Getty Images

By Tim Liotta


OWGR Watch: Van Rooyen scores emotional victory at WWT, Kuchar, Aberg climb

Erik Van Rooyen of South Africa capped an 8-under-par back nine with an eagle on the final hole to win by two shots on Sunday at the PGA Tour's World Wide Technologies Championship. 

Van Rooyen finished 27-under-par over the Tiger Woods-designed El Cardonal at Diamante Cabo San Lucas course in Los Cabos, Mexico. Matt Kuchar and Camilo Villegas finished tied for second at 25-under. 

With the victory, the 33-year-old Van Rooyen qualified for the 2024 Masters and the 2024 PGA Championship. He advanced from 189 to 82nd on the Official World Golf Rankings.  

With his second-place finish, Kuchar moved from 64 to 52 in the OWGR. With a T10 finish, Ludvig Aberg moved up from 58 to 53. The top 50 at the end of the year qualify for the 2024 Masters Tournament and those on the same list Week 21 of 2024 become exempt into the 2024 Open Championship. Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm remain 1-2-3 in the rankings.

The victory was Van Rooyen's second on the PGA Tour, first since 2021 Barracuda Championship, which was scored with the Stableford system. 

Van Rooyen entered the tournament ranked 125th on the FedEx Cup points list, where the top 125 at the end of the 2023 FedEx Cup Fall season earn 2024 PGA Tour Cards. He also advanced to 63rd on the list where the top 60 qualify for the PGA Tour's first two designated events, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and the Genesis Invitational.

The result was his first PGA Tour top-10 since a T10 at the Valspar Championship in March. Van Rooyen endured a string of nine missed cuts in 10 tournaments this summer, a stretch during which he dropped from 117 to a low of 235 in the OWGR.

There are four events left on the 2023 schedule that appear to be able to impact the OWGR's Top 50 ranking.

The PGA Tour has two where players can advance - the Buttfield Bermuda Championship this week, and the RSM Classic next week.

The DP World Tour has left on its schedule the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City, South Africa this week, and the DP World Tour Championship next week.

The OWGR's Top 50 Bubble watch (Through November 5, 2023):

47 - Adam Hadwin

48 - Eric Cole

49 - Nick Taylor

50 - Chris Kirk

51 - Taylor Moore 

52 - Matt Kuchar

53 - Ludvig Aberg

54 - Billy Horschel

Also on Sunday, Sarit Suwannarut, 25, won the Volvo China Open, which returned to the Asian Tour for the first time since 2019, allowing foreign professionals to play in the tournament. 

Suwannarut posted a final-round, 8-under-par 64 to win by six shots, jumping from 604 to 380 in the OWGR.

Keita Nakajima, who finished T12 in the PGA Tour's ZOZO Championship three weeks prior, won the Mynavi ABC Championship on the Japan Tour by three shots. 

Nakajima, 23, who was ranked No. 1 in the World Amateur Rankings for a record 87 weeks, moved up from 121 to 108 in the OWGR.