Massive shake-up in world rankings as top amateurs turn pro
07 Jun 2023
by AmateurGolf.com Staff

Ludvig Aberg makes his pro debut at the Canadian Open (PGA TOUR Twitter photo)
Ludvig Aberg makes his pro debut at the Canadian Open (PGA TOUR Twitter photo)

As Rose Zhang showed the world last week, today's top amateurs are more ready than ever to achieve instant success in pro golf once they make the weighty decision to turn pro.

The conclusion of the college season has seen a wave of top amateurs make the jump to professional golf, leaving behind an impressive legacy and massively shaking up the Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com World Amateur Rankings.

Ludvig Aberg (Sweden, Texas Tech University) closed his amateur career as the number one player in the world ranking, and by virtue of finishing as the top-ranked player in PGA TOUR University, has earned his tour card and will make his professional debut this week at the RBC Canadian Open.

Fred Biondi (Brazil, University of Florida) finished his amateur career in style, winning the individual NCAA Championship and then leading his Florida Gators to the team title. He finished No. 2 in PGA TOUR University and will have exempt status on the Korn Ferry Tour this season. It was meteoric rise for Biondi, who two years ago was outside the top 400 but whose runner-up finish in the Latin America Championship last year started a run of form that ended in a national championship.

Sam Bennett (Madisonville, Texas; Texas A&M), the 2022 U.S. Amateur champion, enjoyed a memorable 2023 Masters when he got into the final group on the weekend and finished as the low amateur. Bennett has already made his pro debut, making the cut at Jack Nicklaus' Memorial Tournament, and will have Korn Ferry Tour status this year.

Other highly-ranked amateurs who have turned pro to accept full Korn Ferry Tour status are Adrien Dumont de Chassart (Belgium, University of Illinois) and Ross Steelman (Columbia, Mo.; Georgia Tech), who came so close to winning the NCAAs as an individual and led Georgia Tech to a runner-up team finish.

Two of Biondi's Florida teammates, Yuxin Lin (China) and Ricky Castillo (Yorba Linda, Calif.), have also turned pro and, by virtue of finishing in the top 10 of PGA TOUR University, will earn conditional Korn Ferry Tour status for 2023. Others taking the same path include William Mouw (Chino, Calif.; Pepperdine), Ryan Burnett (Lafayette, Calif.; North Carolina) and Patrick Welch (Aliso Viejo, Calif.; Oklahoma).

Former world No. 2 Michael Thorbjornssen (Wellesley, Mass.; Stanford) takes over the top spot in the rankings, and will look to pad his lead at next week's U.S. Open, after he and three of his Stanford teammates advanced through Golf's Longest Day to make it to Los Angeles Country Club. New No. 2 Gordon Sargent (Mountain Brook, Ala.; Vanderbilt) will also be in the field at LACC as he plays in his second professional major of the year after debuting in the Masters.

Rose Zhang (Irvine, Calif.; Stanford) leaves a giant hole in women's amateur golf after closing her illustrious amateur career with a second-straight NCAA individual championship and a memorable win at the Augusta National Women's Amateur. Her status as ">one of the best amateurs in the last 25 years was validated immediately upon turning pro, as she became the first player to win on the LPGA Tour in her pro debut in 72 years.

Jenny Bae (Suwanee, Ga.; University of Georgia), who took Zhang into a playoff at Augusta National and is second to her in the AmateurGolf.com Player-of-the-Year points race, has also turned pro. Bae won the NCAA Regional and led the Bulldogs to a T14 in the NCAA Championship.

Ingrid Lindblad (Sweden, LSU) takes over the top spot that she held before Zhang supplanted her. She had a somewhat quiet season for LSU compared to last year when she won five college tournaments. She is set to play in next week's British Women's Amateur at Prince's Golf Club in England.

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