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Immelman rises to 53rd in World Rankings

South Africa's Trevor Immelman climbed four places to a career-high number 53 in the world rankings following his second victory in three starts at the weekend.

The 23-year-old, who claimed his maiden European Tour title at the South African Open two weeks ago, fired a closing 71 to win the Dimension Data Pro-Am by a shot at Sun City's Gary Player Country Club on Sunday.

Immelman had to play 32 holes on the final day, after protracted rain delays earlier in the week, but held off strong challenges by compatriot Andrew McLardy and American Bruce Vaughan to clinch the S.A. Tour order of merit title.

McLardy, who carded a seven-under-par 65, missed a six-foot birdie putt at the last to force a playoff, while Vaughan, who returned a 69, wasted his own playoff chance by failing to hole out from 18 feet.

Although Ernie Els was foiled in his bid for a fourth successive tournament victory at the Singapore Masters on Sunday, the big South African remained at number two in the world rankings.

Els, who had arrived in Singapore after back-to-back wins in his first two starts of 2003 and last month's Sun City Challenge, bogeyed the last at Laguna National and had to settle for second place in the co-sanctioned tournament.

Zhang Lian Wei, who bounced back from a bogey on 17 with a birdie at the last, triumphed by one shot to become the first Chinese player to win an event on the European Tour.

The 38-year-old Zhang rose 46 spots to a career-high 95th in the global standings.

On the U.S. PGA Tour, Fiji's Vijay Singh birdied five of his first six holes on the way to a closing 63 and a comfortable three-shot victory in the Phoenix Open on Sunday.

Singh, who finished on 23-under-par 261, climbed three places to fourth in the world rankings, the first time the twice major winner has been as high since the 2001 Loch Lomond Invitational.

Tiger Woods, who is yet to play this year following knee surgery last December, remained at the top of the global pecking order.

Left-hander Phil Mickelson, who tied for ninth in the Phoenix on Sunday, stayed in third place while 2001 U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen of South Africa dropped one spot to number five.




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