The battle to see who will end the season as the world's top amateur comes to its climax this week, and with top events taking place on both sides of the Atlantic over the coming days the race for the McCormack Medal – awarded to the top-ranked amateur golfer at the end of the season –  is still wide open.

 

New Zealand's Danny Lee currently sits in the hot seat atop the World Amateur Golf Ranking – and he has momentum on his side. Lee dominated amateur golf in his home country during the 2007-2008 season, and carried his excellent form on to the States with a victory in the Western Amateur, one of the year's biggest amateur tournaments, just a few weeks ago. But it was his tie for 20th place in the Wyndham Championship on the PGA Tour – a performance which included four rounds in the 60s – that finally propelled him to the top spot.

 

American Rickie Fowler has been at the top of the rankings for much of this year, and is still neck and neck with Lee. Following on from a highly successful 2007, Fowler has once again enjoyed a season of consistently brilliant golf, during which he has won the Sunnehanna Amateur and made the cut at the US Open. This week, Fowler is playing in the US Amateur Championship at Pinehurst, where he will look to make up for his disappointment last year at not getting beyond the initial match play round.

 

A victory for Lee or Fowler at Pinehurst would be enough to secure the championship for either of them – and both are safely through to the match play phase of the tournament. But should they fall short of that mark then there's every chance that one of Europe's top three amateur golfers, Anders Kristiansen, Jorge Campillo and Shane Lowry, could overtake them at the top of the rankings if they produce top finishes in this week's European Championship at Esbjerg in Denmark.

 

Anders Kristiansen has rocketed up the rankings in the past few months following his triumph at the Australian Men's Amateur Championship earlier in the season, but it was his tie for 9th place at the Lexus Open on the Challenge Tour last week which took him into the top three. Considering that he only turned 18 last month, Kristiansen's future in golf looks extremely bright no matter what happens this week.

 

Campillo, of Spain, has had a superb season, winning the Spanish National Championship a fortnight ago and making it to the quarter-final of The Amateur Championship in June to add to his earlier excellent performances in US College Golf, which included a second place finish in the NCAA Division 1 Championship and the best individual performance the Big Ten Championship.

 

Lowry, who comes from County Offaly in Ireland, has flown up the rankings this year, following his victories in the Sotogrande Cup and the North of Ireland Amateur, and his strong performance in helping Ireland retain the European Team Championship. The Irishman, who was recently named in the GB&I team that plays the Continent of Europe for the St Andrews Trophy later this month, would love to head to Kingsbarns as the world's top amateur golfer.

 

There are several other players who, given the right combination of results, could also find themselves receiving the McCormack Medal. Korea's Sihwan Kim is playing at Pinehurst this week, and a good finish could propel him from 9th to first in the WAGR list; while France's Benjamin Hebert, who won the European Championship last year. Both could also make it to the top if things go their way.

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