Westwood officially reclaims top spot in world ranking, Donald stays third

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Lee Westwood took over the top spot last October, held it until Martin Kaymer took over about two months ago, and moved back to No. 1 on Sunday.
By
PA Sport

Series:

Published: Monday, April 25, 2011 | 3:33 p.m.

Lee Westwood has retaken the No. 1 spot in the world rankings from Germany's Martin Kaymer, while Luke Donald remains at No. 3.

Donald was primed to capture the top rung on the rankings this week when he started the final round with a one-shot lead at the Heritage on the PGA Tour on Sunday, but he was reeled in and matched by the fast-closing Brandt Snedeker, who then went on to win a playoff in South Carolina.

OFFICIAL GOLF WORLD RANKING

The top 10 as of April 25:

Player

Points

1. Lee Westwood

7.65

2. Martin Kaymer

7.52

3. Luke Donald

7.37

4. Phil Mickelson

6.51

5. Graeme McDowell

5.84

6. Tiger Woods

5.72

7. Rory McIlroy

5.64

8. Paul Casey

5.59

9. Steve Stricker

5.48

10. Matt Kuchar

5.21

Westwood, who held the world No. 1 crown for 17 weeks after taking it from Tiger Woods last November, had effectively won it back from Kaymer earlier Sunday when he triumphed at the Asian Tour's Indonesian Masters in Jakarta. But he would have been overtaken by Donald had his fellow Englishman won the Heritage because there were more ranking points available at the Heritage, which had a stronger field.

Kaymer, who was the world No. 1 for eight weeks, did not play this week.

In the meantime, Snedeker, whose victory was his second on the PGA Tour since his first in the 2007 Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C., in his rookie season, moved 28 rankings places into the all-important top 50. He is now in 38th place and has almost certainly earned his ticket to the U.S. Open in June and to the other two majors later in the year if he can keep himself in the top 50.

Westwood, who celebrated his 38th birthday Sunday, opened the final round of the Indonesian Masters birdie-bogey and then made eight straight pars. A birdie on No. 11 was the turning point in his round. After waiting out a lightning delay on the final hole, he finished off a 3-under 69 for a three-stroke victory over Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee, as the Englishman totaled 19-under 269 at Royale Jakarta.

As he stepped off the 18th green, a portion of the gallery erupted in “Happy Birthday” -- and Westwood had plenty to smile about. Asked what he wanted for his birthday, Lee replied with a grin, “Something silver and shiny.”

“It was quite a day, really,” he said. “I knew it wasn’t going to be easy with a five-shot lead. I’m experienced enough to know that patience is the key. I hit the ball great, but didn’t hit the putts when it mattered.”

Park Hyun-bin of South Korea briefly shared the lead with Westwood before a bogey on No. 11. Thongchai made a charge but missed a few key putts on his way to shooting a 65 to finish at 16 under while Marcus Both, Siddikur, Park Hyun-bin and Thithphun Chuayprakong tied for third on 13 under.

Westwood was even par for the day at the turn before the birdie at the 11th saw him gain some forward momentum.

"Yeah, that was probably the hardest putt I had all day," he said. "It was 15 feet and had a three-feet break on it.

“I birdied the next with two good shots and played solidly,” he added. “I managed to pick up a few shots and birdied the 16th from four feet. I was quite comfortable after that."