2 up, 2 down: Jon Rahm ascends after weekend repeat; Brittany Altomare due for win?

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2 up, 2 down: Jon Rahm ascends after weekend repeat; Brittany Altomare due for win?

Professional

2 up, 2 down: Jon Rahm ascends after weekend repeat; Brittany Altomare due for win?

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Golfweek takes a look at who’s up and who’s down each week on the three major golf tours. Here are the latest rankings for men and women.

The Golfweek/Sagarin ranking for each player is in parentheses.

PGA Tour

Up

Patrick Cantlay (1)

Cantlay didn’t quite hit the jackpot in Sin City – losing to Kevin Na on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff – but he’s on quite the roll in Las Vegas. He’s finished 1-2-2 at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open the past three years. Cantlay nearly won the title in regulation, but his 24-foot birdie putt burned the edge on the high side. Cantlay, who began the year ranked No. 18 in the Official World Golf Ranking and improved to No. 6, a new personal best, will rue hitting his tee shot into the water at the par-3 17th after claiming a one-stroke lead and taking three putts from more than 40 feet on the second playoff hole.

“It leaves a sour taste in my mouth,” he said, adding, “I played well all week. I’ll take that momentum the rest of the year.”

Brian Stuard (97)

There’s no telling whether the pride of Jackson, Michigan is enjoying pumpkin lattes now that the calendar has turned to October, but he sure is making the most of the fall golf season. Stuard posted four rounds in the 60s and was bogey-free on the back nine at TPC Summerlin en route to a T-4 finish. It was his best finish since a T-4 at the Valero Texas Open in April. Stuard missed the cut at the season-opener, A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier, but registered a T-28 finish at The Sanderson Farms Open and T-17 at the Safeway Open. He’s now broken par in 13-of-14 rounds this season.

Down

Gary Woodland (31)

Since winning the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links in June, Gary Woodland’s name has gone M.I.A. from leaderboards. Woodland missed his first two cuts after winning his first major and his best result since is T-15 in the 30-man, no-cut Tour Championship. He finished T-52 at The Northern Trust, his only full-field event post-U.S. Open last season, and looked rusty in his season debut in Las Vegas, finishing T-55. It’s hard to imagine the U.S. Presidents Cup team without the reigning U.S. Open champion, but Woodland may need to show some life in his game to convince Tiger Woods to make him a captain’s pick.

Smylie Kaufman (910)

Not to pick on a guy while he’s down, but even a return to Vegas, site of his lone PGA Tour victory, couldn’t lift Smylie Kaufman out of his funk.

Four years ago, in just his fifth career Tour start, Kaufman shot a sizzling final-round 11-under 61 to win the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. This year, playing as a past champion, Kaufman finished dead last (84-76) and missed the cut. It’s more of the same for a player who missed 18 cuts and withdrew once in 22 starts in 2017-18. Kaufman missed six months last season with an inflamed left elbow. He failed to satisfy his medical extension and warmed up for his start in Vegas by playing the South Carolina Open, a mini-tour event on the GPro Circuit. Kaufman has reunited with former swing instructor Tony Ruggerio, but the week still ended with the former LSU golfer leaving Las Vegas with more questions than answers about the future of his game.

LPGA

Up

Stephanie Meadow (169)

Birdied the last two holes at the Volunteers of America Classic to keep her full card for the 2020 season, closing with a 67 to finish in a share of sixth. The former Alabama standout needed a top-8 finish to move into the top 100 on the money list. She’s now 99th.

Brittany Altomare ­(12)

It’s coming. That elusive LPGA victory has to be around the corner for one of the most consistent players on the LPGA. Altomare finished in a share of second at the VOA behind rookie Cheyenne Knight.

Down

Ariya Jutanugarn (9)

Last year’s LPGA Player of the Year is actually down in more ways than one. Looking as trim as ever after cutting out dessert, Jutanugarn struggled on the weekend with rounds of 72-73 in what turned into a birdie-fest. Still looking for her first victory of 2019. Has won multiple titles every year since 2016.

Cristie Kerr (122)

American stalwart missed her fifth cut in the last six starts. Ranks 76th on the money list and 122nd in greens in regulation. Hit only eight greens in a second-round 77 in Texas.

Euro Tour

Up

Jon Rahm (4)

Not only topped the field in the Spanish Open, but now tops the Race to Dubai after his fifth win in 39 European Tour appearances. That’s better than a one-in-eight conversation rate. Other Euro Tour members must be glad he plays the PGA Tour full time. Not surprisingly, the 24-year-old led the field in strokes gained total (+4.88), strokes gained off the tee (+1.93) and had a scoring average of 65.5 per round. However, the former Arizona State player successfully defended his Spanish Open title with a back nine of 28, 7-under, in round three. That’s what separated him from the field.

Samuel Del Val (477)

Impressive third-place finish in the Spanish Open from the 32-year-old journeyman, playing in just his fifth European Tour event. Del Val, who played collegiate golf at Berry College in Georgia, got into contention with an opening 67 but was excepted to fade over the next three rounds. He didn’t. He hung tough, but then Del Val knows all about tough. Last year, he missed retaining his Web.Com card by $126. Since then he’s played the PGA Tour Latinoamerica, PGA Tour Series-China, and the European Challenge Tour to earn a living. The $103,000 he earned for third will help pay some travel bills.

Down

Niklas Lemke (326)

Missed the cut in the Spanish Open because of a second round 76 to go with his opening 68. He falls to 112th on the Race to Dubai, two spots outside the magic 110 number. That’s the marker that decides those who keep their playing rights for 2020, and those who return to the Qualifying School. Former Arizona State player Lemke knows all about Q-School hell. He’s made 10 trips to professional golf’s ultimate form of torture, and has only been successful once. He placed sixth last year to earn his card. The 35-year-old Swede has three top 10s this year. He needs one more to secure his card for next year.

Lee Slattery (285)

One poor round in the Spanish Open cost the veteran Englishman. His second round 73 was his only score over 70 and meant he finished T-37. The personable two-time European Tour winner slips to 116th on the Race to Dubai. Like Lemke, he needs to find a decent finish from what’s left on the schedule to sneak into the top 110. Slattery might have finished higher in Spain if he’d scrambled better. He ranked 102nd on strokes gained around the green at -0.91 for the week.

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