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Westwood pips McIlroy in end of season rankings

Lee Westwood finishes the year as golf’s world number two following his win at the Thailand Golf Open.

Image: Yun long/AP/Press Association Images

RORY MCILROY WILL ring in the New Year as golf’s world number three.

The reigning US Open champion was leapfrogged by Lee Westwood whose win at the Thailand Golf Open last weekend saw him finish second in the end of year World Golf Rankings which were released today.

For the first time in his career, Luke Donald will finish the year as world number one, capping a historic 12 months in which he became the first player to top the money list on both sides of the Atlantic in the same season.

Last year’s world number six Graeme McDowell finished the season in 13th while Darren Clarke’s win at the British Open sees him jump up 50 places to 48th, breaking back into in the top 50 for the first time since 2006.

Meanwhile, Padraig Harrington suffered the final blow of a dismal year . The Dubliner plummeted from 23rd in the world to 85th over the last 12 months — a drop of 62 places following a season in which he only managed three top 10 finishes.

It is the first time since 1998 that Harrington has finished the year outside the top 50, one of the main qualifying criteria used to narrow down the field for golf’s four Majors each year.

However, Harrington received a five-year qualifying exemption following his wins at the British Open in 2007 and 2008 and is therefore guaranteed an automatic place at the Masters, US Open and PGA Championship for the next two seasons.

Official World Golf Ranking for w/e 31 December 2011: selected players (2010 position in brackets)

  • 3 – Rory McIlroy (10)
  • 13 – Graeme McDowell (6)
  • 48 – Darren Clarke (98)
  • 85 – Padraig Harrington (23)
  • 102 – Michael Hoey (361)
  • 119 – Shane Lowry (161)
  • 152 – Peter Lawrie (106)
  • 234 – Damien McGrane (125)
  • 261 – Gareth Maybin (110)

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Niall Kelly

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