Skip to main content

Just nine tournaments into the DP World Tour season, Canada’s Aaron Cockerill is already in the best position of his career.

Cockerill, from Stony Mountain, Man., tied for fourth at the Dubai Desert Classic on Sunday, firing a four-under fourth round to finish at 10 under, just four shots back of Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy. That performance moved Cockerill 33 points up the Race to Dubai rankings to ninth overall.

“There’s still a long way to go but it’s obviously better to start in a good position than be behind the 8-ball,” said Cockerill, who played in his fourth tournament of the season but first of 2024.

Cockerill is the eighth highest-ranked Canadian on the official world golf rankings, sitting 219th overall. Keeping pace with high-profile players such as McIlroy and Chile’s Joaquin Niemann, who also tied for fourth, at the Dubai Desert Classic was encouraging.

“I only lost to three other guys and a couple of them are really, really highly ranked golfers,” said Cockerill. “I mean, those guys are all within the top 30 in the world, I think, so it’s exciting.”

The 32-year-old Cockerill had some strong performances last season on the European-based DP World Tour, with a tie for fourth at the Alfred Dunhill Championship on Dec. 12, 2022, and a second-place finish at the ISPS Handa – Championship on April 22, but then he struggled through the summer.

He said he’s learned from that experience and plans to do things differently in 2024.

“I think a lot of that has to do with my habits away from the golf course,” said Cockerill from his home in Dubai. “When we’re over here at the start of the season I’m kind of secluded, in terms of what my normal day to day would be at home.

“Here it’s: golf course, practice, gym, work hard. I’m going pretty hard and not really doing a lot in between. Not that I want to be a drill sergeant to myself the whole season, but I also need to know that I need to stay pretty disciplined and keep up with my practice habits.”

PGA Tour

Play teed off at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego, on Wednesday with five Canadians in the field. Taylor Pendrith of Richmond Hill, Ont., was the highest ranked Canadian, entering the event at 44th on the FedEx Cup standings. Mackenzie Hughes (T46) of Dundas, Ont., Adam Svensson (T60) of Surrey, B.C., Ben Silverman (T66) of Thornhill, Ont., and Roger Sloan (unranked) of Merritt, B.C., were also in the field.


Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., leads the Canadian contingent into this week’s LPGA Drive On Championship. She’s third in the Race to CME Glove rankings after finishing four shots behind New Zealand’s Lydia Ko at the season-opening Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions last week. Maude-Aimée Leblanc of Sherbrooke, Que., and Savannah Grewal of Mississauga are also in the field this week in Bradenton, Fla.

Follow related authors and topics

Authors and topics you follow will be added to your personal news feed in Following.

Interact with The Globe