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Singh closes in on World No.1 position

Vijay Singh, the game's hottest player over the last five months, has closed the gap on world number one Tiger Woods in the official rankings following his victory in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am at the weekend.

Fijian Singh, who moved to second in the global pecking order after winning the Funai Classic last October, inched to within 3.08 points of Woods -- the narrowest margin between the American and the second-ranked player since the standings were revamped in September 2001.

Singh fired a closing 69 to triumph by three shots at Pebble Beach on Sunday, extending his run of consecutive top-10 finishes in PGA Tour events to 12.

The 40-year-old, who last year ended Woods's four-year reign as the U.S. tour's leading money winner, has moved to the top of the 2004 money list with $1,966,000 from four tournaments.

He has won three times in his last nine PGA Tour starts.

Woods, who skipped last week's Pebble Beach event for the second year in a row, remained world number one for a record 235th consecutive week -- and 306th week overall.

The 28-year-old American is just 25 weeks short of Greg Norman's record of 331 weeks in top spot since the official rankings were introduced in 1986.

In the only changes this week to the world's top 10, Phil Mickelson returned at nine, Kenny Perry moved up one to eight and U.S. PGA champion David Toms dropped two places to 10.

Ireland's Padraig Harrington, ranked 10th last week, slipped to 11.

Three-times major winner Ernie Els, who won the European Tour's Heineken Classic in Melbourne, Australia on Sunday, stayed at three, with Davis Love III at four and U.S. Open champion Jim Furyk at five.

World ranking points are accumulated over a two-year period, with points awarded in the most recent 13-week spell doubled.

Each player is ranked according to his average points per tournament, points being weighted according to the status of the event and strength of the field.

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