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Hendry closes on Fox in Olympic race

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 6/06/2016

Michael Hendry's form in Japan has set up a scrap for the second New Zealand men's golf slot at the Rio Olympics.

Third-ranked New Zealander Hendry powered 77 places up the world rankings to 243rd following his runner-up finish at the latest Japan Golf Tour event in Kasame.

It followed a fifth-placing in Okayama and lifts Hendry within sight of second-ranked Kiwi Ryan Fox, who has slipped 14 spots to 213th.

Not helped by early-season injury problems, Fox has struggled this year on the European Tour. He missed the cut by 10 shots at last week's Nordea Masters in Stockholm after shooting 76 and 79.

The two highest-ranked New Zealanders when the rankings are updated on July 11 will be eligible to tee off at Rio, with PGA Tour-based world No.42 Danny Lee guaranteed one spot.

US-based pair Josh Geary and Tim Wilkinson still have a shot if they can unleash a big month of results.

The world's top 15 players by ranking will be eligible for Rio, with a limit of four players from any country. Below that, there is a maximum of two players from any country, which benefits the lower-ranked Kiwis.

Women's world No.1 Lydia Ko should have company in Rio, even though second-ranked New Zealander Liv Cheng is the world No.425.

A preponderance of players from Korea and the United States leaves Cheng with an Olympic ranking of 56th.

Taiwan-born Cheng, 22, recently qualified for the US Women's Open at a qualifying tournament in Houston.

LEADING NZ GOLF RANKINGS

Men: Danny Lee 42, Ryan Fox 213, Michael Hendry 243, Josh Geary 301, Tim Wilkinson 358.

Women: Lydia Ko 1, Liv Cheng 425, Cathryn Bristow 461, Munchin Keh 781.

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