McIlroy back in world top 10

Irish golfer Rory McIlroy is back amongst the top 10 golfers in the world today following the publication of updated rankings.

Padraig Harrington has dropped one place to eighth.

Lee Westwood’s disappointing finish to the Qatar Masters meant he just missed out on reaching his highest ever position on the world rankings.

Westwood would have moved above American Steve Stricker into third place by being runner-up to Robert Karlsson in Doha, but he bogeyed the 16th and missed birdie putts on the last two greens.

Last year’s European Tour number one, who slipped to joint third, stays as world number four, while 2008 money list winner Karlsson climbs from 31st to 17th.

Spaniard Alvaro Quiros came second and by moving to 32nd in the world has virtually guaranteed himself a return to Augusta for The Masters in April. The top 50 earn invitations the week before.

England’s Ross McGowan and Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, meanwhile, are in position to profit from the expected absence of top two Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson from the Accenture World Match Play Championship in Tucson in two weeks.

Mickelson has already confirmed he is taking the week off, while there is no indication that Woods will end his indefinite break from golf for an event backed by one of the sponsors who have dropped him because of his sex scandal.

The tournament is for the game’s leading 64 available players and with one week to go in qualifying McGowan is 65th and Fernandez-Castano 66th.

Latest leading positions:

1 Tiger Woods 13.34pts, 2 Phil Mickelson 7.75, 3 Steve Stricker 6.88, 4 Lee Westwood 6.65, 5 Jim Furyk 5.42, 6 Martin Kaymer 5.27, 7 Paul Casey 5.20, 8 Padraig Harrington 5.14, 9 Rory McIlroy 5.13, 10 Henrik Stenson 5.10

11 Ian Poulter 5.05. 12Geoff Ogilvy 4.97, 13 Kenny Perry 4.61, 14 Sergio Garcia 4.29, 15 Robert Allenby 4.29, 16 Sean O’Hair 4.17, 17 Robert Karlsson 4.13, 18 Retief Goosen 4.00, 19 Stewart Cink 3.99, 20 Ernie Els 3.99

Other leading Europeans:

21 Ross Fisher, 32 Alvaro Quiros, 33 Luke Donald, 40 Oliver Wilson, 41 Soren Kjeldsen, 42 Francesco Molinari, 44 Anders Hansen, 45 Graeme McDowell, 46 Soren Hansen, 48 Simon Dyson, 52 Peter Hanson, 53 Edoardo Molinari, 57 Alexander Noren, 60 Miguel Angel Jimenez, 65 Ross McGowan, 66 Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, 70 Chris Wood, 72 Justin Rose, 84 Shane Lowry, 87 Martin Laird, 92 Anthony Wall, 94 Gregory Bourdy.

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