Zimbabwe’s top golfer Brendon De Jonge is struggling for form and is going through one of his worst starts to the season since turning professional in 2003.
By Michael Kariati
After 11 events in the 2016 programme, the 2012 Zimbabwe Sportsperson of the Year Award winner has missed the cut on five occasions, including at the season opening Frys.Com Open where he has been known for putting up excellent shows
By this time last season, De Jonge had missed the cut only twice and had finished a credible second at the McGladrey Classic, 13th at the CIMB Classic, not mentioning a 27th placing at the Farmers Insurance Open.
However, this has not been the case this season as so far. De Jonge — who is dreaming of Olympic Games participation in Rio de Janeiro — has only managed a 13th placing at the Shrinners Hospital and a 27th position at the CIMB Classic for his efforts.
The Zimbabwean, who is at the Puerto Rico Open, missed the cut at the last two recent competitions, including last weekend’s Honda Classic where he was five-over-par and at the Northern Trust Open the previous weekend where he was on six over par.
He had prior to that also failed to make the cut at the Career Builders Challenge where he hit two under par and at the Farmers Insurance Open where he was on seven over par. After four events in 2015, De Jonge was among the leading money earners on the US PGA Tour, with total earnings of $620 251 and ninth placing overall, compared to the $261 531 he has so far reaped after 11 competitions.
His world ranking has also plummeted beyond estimation. The Zimbabwean, who was 83rd at this stage last season, has sunk to 181st in the world and is in danger of missing out of some events which require golfers in the top 100.
Some of the competitions attract the top 100, others the top 60 and some the top 30 and those outside the top 100 usually go through the qualifying process and the Zimbabwean would not like to be in that unfamiliar territory.
His Fedex Ranking has also shot to 99 when he was 18th at this time of the year last season.
All in all, De Jonge, who has a career total of $11 231 529, accumulated $1 594 935 in 2015, which could prove too much this season considering the way he has started off his season.
However, there are still 20 events on the Tour, with the last being the BMW Championships that runs from November 17 and De Jonge has the chance to improve not only his world ranking but also his earnings.
The organisers of the Zimbabwe Open are this year hoping to lure De Jonge to the competition which will be held in April.
Last year, De Jonge did not take part in the competition, citing a tight US PGA Tour schedule.