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Steve Stricker becomes world no. 2

Steve Stricker has moved to world number two with victory at the Deutsche Bank Championship, the second of the 2009 FedEx Cup Play-Offs on the PGA Tour. Stricker birdied the final two holes to finish on 17 under par denying Jason Dufner and Scott Verplank who were both in the clubhouse on 16 under par. Stricker overtakes Tiger Woods at the top of the FedEx Cup Points list and overtakes both Paul Casey and Phil Mickelson in the Official World Golf Ranking to achieve his highest ever world ranking.

Alexander Noren claimed his maiden European Tour title in the Omega European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre after converting his 54-hole lead into a two shot victory over Bradley Dredge. The young Swede got off to a fast start on Sunday and quickly pulled away before Dredge came charging back round the turn to tie with the overnight leader through 14 holes. Noren then struck the killer blow with a holed bunker shot for eagle on 15 and three solid pars to finish two in front of the chasing Welshman. The promising young Swede has been tipped for success since he emerged on Tour and with this win he climbs 59 up the rankings to 71. The Omega European Masters was a co-sacntiinoed event between the European Tour and the Asian Tour.

Ryo Ishikawa shot a final round 70 to claim victory and round off a dominating performance at the Fujisankei Classic. The seventeen year old prodigy lead by two heading into the final round, but with his nearest competitiors unable to mount a serious challenge he ended up triumphing by five over Daisuke Maruyama. The win is Ishikawa’s third of the season and the fourth of his career on the Japan Golf Tour and sees him climb up to 47 on the ranking, his first time in the world’s top 50 and the youngest player ever to achieve this feat. The previous youngest in the top 50 was Rory McIlroy.

Troy Merritt holed a 20 foot birdie putt at the first playoff hole to claim a dramatic victory over Australia’s Adam Bland. The Nationwide Tour rookie shared the lead going into the final round of the Mexico Open, and his 3-under 69 was enough to tie with the charging Bland who shot a course record 8-under 64. The win sends Merritt up the rankings to world number 458.

Rhys Davies shot a final round 67 to convert his share of the lead going into the final round into his second Challenge Tour victory of the season. The talented Welshman had shared the lead with Sweden’s Steven Jeppesen heading into Sunday, and with his one stroke victory he consigned the Swede to the fifth runner up finish of his career. The win sees Davies rise up the rankings from 186 to 48.

James Love triumphed in a playoff to claim his first title at the Canadian Tour Championship, with a par at the first good enough to win out over Lucas Lee. Love had found himself doubting whether he would continue life as a tour pro just two months ago, but with this win he should find renewed enthusiasm for his profession. The victory sees Love climb up the rankings to world number 558.

September 8, 2009

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