2 up, 2 down: Danny Lee rises, Brooke Henderson falls

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2 up, 2 down: Danny Lee rises, Brooke Henderson falls

Professional

2 up, 2 down: Danny Lee rises, Brooke Henderson falls

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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

Danny Lee (165)

When the putts aren’t dropping, Danny Lee has been known to shake things up. At the CJ Cup, he switched from a conventional putting grip, which he had used at each of the first three events this season, to putting with a claw grip and suddenly his touch on the greens returned. Lee finished runner up to Justin Thomas, recording his first top-10 finish since the Valero Texas Open in early April and his best result since finishing second at the Mayakoba Classic last November. Lee, a native of New Zealand but with family ties to Korea, wasn’t too disappointed in falling short of the title. “Before I tee off my very first shot on Thursday, if someone’s going to give me solo second, I would take it in a heartbeat,” he said. “It would mean a lot to me to win it in front of the Korean fans and all my Korean family, but it is what it is.”

Cameron Smith (62)

Australian Cameron Smith certainly doesn’t mind the PGA Tour’s annual visit to South Korea. He made the long flight to The CJ Cup at Nine Bridges pay off again, recording his third consecutive top-10 at the event with a T-3 finish.

“I love coming over here,” he said. ”I played probably 18 months on the Asian Tour, so I love coming back to where it all began.”

Smith, a native of Brisbane who qualified for the International Team in the Presidents Cup in Melbourne in December, closed with a birdie-birdie-eagle finish. Smith, 26, posted four rounds in the 60s in Korea and has now recorded nine rounds in the 60s in a row on Tour.

Down

Scott Piercy (48)

Piercy failed to break par at Nine Bridges and continued a disconcerting trend with a third-round 79 en route to finishing 75th of 76 finishers. He also shot 80 in the third round at the Safeway Open and missed the cut at The Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Piercey hasn’t notched a top-10 finish since the AT&T Byron Nelson in May.

Max Homa (160)

Good thing for Max Homa that there wasn’t a cut at the CJ Cup otherwise he would have been packing his bags early. Homa signed for an 82 in the second round and was a non-factor (T-65). He also missed the cut at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, and hasn’t finish in the top 25 in an event since winning the Wells Fargo Championship in May. Contributing to his struggles is his subpar greens in regulation percentage, which has dipped to 64 percent, or 209th on Tour.

LPGA

Up

Danielle Kang (22)

Captured her third career victory on her 27th birthday, successfully defending her title at the Buick LPGA Shanghai. The two-time U.S. Women’s Amateur champion now has $4,777,644 in career earnings on the LPGA. She’s the fifth American winner in 2019.

Kristen Gillman (41)

Rookie posted five birdies on her last six holes to vault up the leaderboard into a share of third, her best finish of the season. Like Kang, Gillman is a two-time U.S. Women’s Amateur champ who left college early to turn professional. She’s now 39th on the money list with $444,089.

Down

Brooke Henderson (9)

A top-10 finish for Henderson counts for a solid showing in Shanghai, but the world-beater hasn’t won on the LPGA since June. A two-time winner this season, Henderson is looking for that next-level gear that will take her into Player of the Year conversations.

Charley Hull (71)

The newlywed didn’t take much time off after tying the knot in late September. Since the Solheim Cup, she has made three starts, missing the cut twice and finishing tied for 67th in China. Hull opened with rounds of 79-77 in Shanghai and is well outside the top 100 in both the tour’s putting stats.

Euro Tour

Up

Nicolas Colsaerts

The long-hitting Belgian ended seven years of frustration by winning the $1.8 million Amundi French Open, his third European Tour victory and first since 2012. The 37-year-old has been one of the longest hitters on the European Tour since he arrived on the scene as an 18-year-old. So the length of Le Golf National didn’t faze him. He was second in strokes gained tee to green, and fourth in greens in regulation, and sixth in strokes gained for approach shots. The popular player had only earned one top-10 finish all season, T-8 in the ISPA Handa Vic Open, but wins one of Europe’s oldest tournaments. Crazy game.

Gavin Moynihan 

The Irishman earned a valuable T-5 French Open finish to give himself a chance of keeping his card for next year. The former Walker Cup player began the week 162nd on the Race to Dubai and moves to 140th. More importantly, his top-10 finish gets him a spot in this week’s Portugal Masters, his last chance to earn Race to Dubai points.  The UAB alum has struggled to hit fairways this season. He’s averaged just 56.48 percent fairways per round to rank 133rd on Tour. His 71.66 stroke average could also be a lot better. It ranks 146th.

Down

Ross Fisher

Missed the cut in France with rounds of 76 and 74 on a course that should have suited him given he’s one of the European Tour’s longest hitters. Fisher is ranked 18th in driving distance with an average pop of 306.91 yards. The Englishman is a head-scratching 99th on the Race to Dubai despite being a five-time winner, albeit his last win came in the 2014 Tshwane Open. Although he’s long, he hasn’t been too accurate this season, hitting just 55.01 percent of fairways to rank 153rd in driving accuracy. He hasn’t been great on the greens either. He’s 181st in putts per round with a 30.27 average. His bunker play could improve, too. He’s only getting up and down for par from sand 40.9 percent of the time.

Alex Noren

Only a closing 5-under par 66 saved the defending champion from finishing well down the leader board in the French Open. He ended up placing T-18. Noren was the highest ranked player in the field at world number 53, yet he never came close to getting into contention. It’s been a strange season for the Swede after three outstanding years that saw him win six times, four in 2016, and make his Ryder Cup debut. He has failed to record a top 10 finish this year and ranks 63rd on the Race to Dubai after years when he placed 6th, 8th and 3rd.  He’s 99th on Tour for putts per round, averaging 29.6, which helps explain his drop down the pecking order.

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