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Lonard unable able to win Order of Merit

Australian golfer Peter Lonard has been told he cannot win this year's Australasian Order of Merit, earning himself an automatic place in next year's U.S. and British Opens, despite leading the series heading into the final event of the season.

Lonard has a big lead in the Order Of Merit after winning the New South Wales Open, Australian Open and Australian PGA in the last three weeks.

But tour officials told Lonard on Tuesday that he was ineligible to win the title because he had not played enough events, falling one short.

Lonard appealed on medical grounds, arguing that he would have played this year's Heineken Classic had he not broken a rib, but his request was rejected.

"There's nothing in the by-laws or whatever the tour runs on that stipulates that there can be a (medical exemption)," he told reporters in Melbourne in the lead-up to this week's Australian Masters.

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