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Howell & Appleby seal Presidents Cup spot

American Charles Howell III and Australia's Stuart Appleby held on to the final spots to earn automatic selection for this year's Presidents Cup team competition after the U.S. PGA Championship on Sunday.

The 24-year-old Howell, who tied for 10th at Oak Hill, qualifies as the 10th player in the U.S. standings.

Appleby, 32, who finished in a share of 23rd place at the U.S. PGA Championship, gets in as the 10th automatic member of the International side.

The fifth edition of the biennial Presidents Cup, which pits a team from the U.S. against a 12-man line-up of international players from nations outside Europe, will be staged on the Links Course at Fancourt in George, South Africa from November 21-23.

"Charles Howell is among the talented young breed coming along in our game today," American captain Jack Nicklaus said in a statement.

"He knows how to play the game and, at 24 and the youngest player on our team, will only get better."

Nine-times major champion Gary Player of South Africa, skipper of the International team, was equally complimentary about Appleby.

"Stuart is a tough competitor who has withstood tremendous adversity, and I am certain he will be a key player in the Presidents Cup," he said. "He will also add to team spirit."

Appleby's wife Renay died in a traffic accident outside a train station in London in 1998, shortly after he missed the cut in the British Open at Royal Birkdale.

The U.S. line-up for the Fancourt Hotel and Country Club Estate in George comprises: world number one Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, U.S. Open champion Jim Furyk, David Toms, Kenny Perry, Phil Mickelson, Justin Leonard, Chris DiMarco, Jerry Kelly and Howell.

The International side is: Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, U.S. Masters champion Mike Weir, Nick Price, Retief Goosen, Robert Allenby, Stephen Leaney, Peter Lonard, Adam Scott and Appleby.

Automatic U.S. team places were decided by the 10 players who had earned the most official PGA Tour money from the first tournament of 2001 until the end of this week's U.S. PGA Championship. Earnings in 2003, however, were doubled.

Automatic International team places were decided by the 10 leading players in the official world rankings after this week's U.S. PGA Championship.

The two team captains will each add two wildcard selections in a teleconference on Monday.

The International team won the third Presidents Cup staged in Melbourne in 1998 by 20-1/2 points to 11-1/2.

The United States, who won the last Presidents Cup in 2000 with a commanding 21-1/2 to 10-1/2 victory at Lake Manassas, Virginia, clinched the first two editions in 1994 and 1996.

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