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Colin Montgomerie returns to World Top 10

Colin Montgomerie has returned to the world's top 10 for the first time in almost three years following his one-shot victory at the Hong Kong Open.

The 42-year-old Scot, who clinched his 30th European Tour title after South Africa's James Kingston double-bogeyed the final hole, climbed eight places to ninth in the official rankings announced on Monday.

Montgomerie, Europe's number one this year for a record eighth time, had not been in the global top 10 since the second week of 2003.

He struggled for form in 2004 while negotiating a painful and public divorce and had slipped to a lowly 80th at the start of this year.

Regaining his status as one of the game's leading players was one of his main targets for 2005, and he is now ahead of schedule.

"At the start of the year, I gave myself a goal of 25th, and to beat this already is remarkable for me. I'm thrilled about it," he told Reuters.

"I knew it would be a very difficult task to get back into the top 10 because there were several great players ahead of me but that was my goal, and it was a realistic one."

Montgomerie, second in the world rankings in 1996 and 1997, was an ever-present in the top 10 between 1994 and 2001.

In other changes this week to the top 10, Americans Chris DiMarco and Kenny Perry each slip one spot to 10th and 11th respectively.

Tiger Woods retained his hold at the top of the rankings with a points average lead of 7.13 over second-placed Vijay Singh.

The top eight are unchanged, with U.S. PGA champion Phil Mickelson in third, twice U.S. Open winner Retief Goosen fourth, Ernie Els fifth and Spaniard Sergio Garcia sixth.

On the PGA Tour of Australasia, Robert Allenby won his second successive title on home soil with a one-shot victory in the Australian PGA at Coolum and climbed 13 places to 47th.

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.

December 5, 2005

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