PGA News: Sergio Garcia Tops List of 10 Spanish Golfers To Keep an Eye in 2015
Golf fans are getting set for another exciting year.
While the return of Tiger Woods and dominance of Rory McIlroy have dominated headlines in the United States, numerous golfers from Spanish nations around the world are making a name for themselves.
Ever since Fay Crocker became the first Latin American-born golfer to win a major (1955 US Women's Open), golf has been a thriving sport in South America and Spain. Roberto DeVicenzo was the first Latin American male golfer to win a major when he won the 1967 British Open.
Here are 10 Spanish-born golfers to keep an eye this year:
1. Sergio Garcia
The No. 5-ranked male golfer in the world is Sergio Garcia. You can always count on Garcia doing something entertaining, whether it's making a huge eagle on a par five or hitting a ball out of a tree. Garcia has had a long feud with Woods, but it's time to put that in the past. Last year, Garcia played great at the British Open finishing in second place. Garcia has finished top five in all four majors, but just hasn't been able to capitalize yet.
2. Miguel Ángel Jiménez
The 51-year-old out of Malaga, Spain had a terrific showing in last year's Masters placing fourth overall. Jiménez tends to struggle in other majors, but he always shows up at Augusta. Currently ranked No. 40 in the world, Jiménez has a promising year ahead of him.
3. Pablo Larrazabal
Spain really knows their golf. Hailing from Barcelona, Larrazabal is looking to make a name for himself. Larrazabal had an impressive 2014 campaign, winning the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship over McIlroy and Phil Mickelson. Larrazabal has also been successful on the European Tour.
4. Angel Cabrera
How Angel Cabrera is ranked No. 73 in the world is beyond me. Cabrera is one of the most decorated Latin American male golfers of all time, having won two major championships for Argentina. Cabrera won the 2007 U.S. Open and the 2009 Masters. Last year didn't go very well for Cabrera, having missing two cuts entirely. Only time will tell if Cabrera can get back to his old form.
5. Fabrizio Zanotti
Paraguay's own Fabrizio Zanotti is currently ranked No. 99 in the world, and No. 2 in South America. The last time we saw Zanotti, he had his first ever finish in a major placing 46th overall at the 2014 PGA Championship. Zanotti also has three European tour wins, including the 2014 BMW International Open.
6. Camilo Villegas
Similar to Garcia, Camilo Villegas has come close to winning a major so many times, but he just hasn't been able to close the deal. Camilo Villegas has placed in the top 13 in all of four majors at least once in his successful career. The 33-year-old Colombian is a fan favorite amongst female viewers having previous being named "sexiest player on tour." Camilo Villegas will have to improve his putting for 2015.
7. Carlos Ortiz
Now here is an interesting player. Carlos Ortiz is the top ranked Mexican male golfer in the world, and he's still just 23 years old. Ortiz has a lot of notable victories on his resume including the 2014 Panama Claro Championship. It's unlikely he's the next Jack Nicklaus, but Ortiz is quickly climbing the golf rankings, and has the veterans watching.
8. Azahara Munoz
Azahara Munoz is the No. 14 ranked female golfer in the world. Last year she had a very impressive campaign placing in the top 10 in two majors, the LPGA Championship and the ANA Inspiration. Munoz was also named the LPGA Rookie of the Year in 2010.
9. Julieta Granada
The highest-ranked South American golfer (male or female) in the world today is Julieta Granada. Granada is ranked No. 35 in the world, and she nearly won the British Open and LPGA Championship last year. The 28-year-old Paraguayan is in the prime of her career.
10. Mariajo Uribe
Mariajo Uribe is parallel to Carlos Ortiz for the men. Still just 24 years old, Uribe has a promising career ahead of her. The young Colombian is ranked No. 85 in the world, and she has numerous victories including the HSHB Brazil Cup. Last year Uribe finished 10th overall at the Evian Championship, the final major of the year.
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