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Tiger closes back in on World No.1 position

Tiger Woods has closed the gap on world number one Vijay Singh by winning his first strokeplay title of the year at the Dunlop Phoenix tournament in Japan on Sunday.

Woods, deposed by Fijian Singh as the game's leading player in September, stays at number two in the official world rankings but trails his rival by just 0.76 points.

The 28-year-old American has been revamping his swing this year and produced sparkling form at the Phoenix Country Club in Miyazaki, a closing three-under-par 67 earning him an eight-shot victory.

Woods, who monopolised the world rankings for a record 264 consecutive weeks before being dislodged by Singh, ended a run of 20 consecutive strokeplay events without a win -- his longest drought since turning professional in 1996.

U.S. PGA champion Singh, a dominant figure this season with nine victories on the PGA Tour, did not play last week.

The world's top five remains unchanged, with three-times major winner Ernie Els, U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen and Phil Mickelson, winner of the U.S. Masters, at three, four and five respectively.

Ireland's Padraig Harrington, however, climbs two places to a career-high sixth, with Davis Love III staying seventh and 2003 U.S. Masters champion Mike Weir slipping two spots to eighth.

Harrington, a virtual regular in the top 10 since his November 2001 victory at the European Tour's season-ending Volvo Masters, had never previously been higher than seventh.

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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