Since February last year, Justin Harding has played in 22 countries, registering 15 top-10 finishes in the process. Photo: Martin Dokoupil/EPA

JOHANNESBURG – Following his maiden European Tour win, South Africa’s Justin Harding has risen to 52nd in the latest World Golf Rankings released on Monday.

Added to his winner’s cheque of R4.2 million at the Qatar Masters on Sunday, the 33-year-old jumped 22 spots in the rankings.

He was already the third-ranked SA golfer on the ratings, behind Branden Grace (41) and Louis Oosthuizen (28), but now he will surely be setting even loftier goals.

If Harding moves inside the top-50 in the world by the end of March, he will automatically receive an invite to the year’s first Major – The Masters at Augusta, starting on April 11.

Since February last year, he’s played in 22 countries, registering 15 top-10 finishes in the process.

The win in Qatar was his fifth in nine months, and moving inside the top-50 in the world should be expected, given his current form.

In fact, at the end of 2017, Harding was ranked 712th in the world, and in less than two years, has already made his way into the world’s elite golfers.

Shaun Norris is 85th in the world, with Dylan Frittelli in 89th position.

One SA player who is moving in the wrong direction is Charl Schwartzel.

The 2011 Masters champion finds himself in danger of falling out the top-100 at 95th.

The former world number six has not been ranked outside the top-100 in the world since September 2008.

Schwartzel, though, will be teeing it up at Augusta as a former champion.

African News Agency (ANA)