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Graeme McDowell in Abu Dhabi glory bid

Graeme McDowell will climb one rung to a career-high fourth in the world when golf's latest global rankings are unveiled later today.

Unusually, US Open hero McDowell and Masters champion Phil Mickelson both share fourth — though world ranking points can be broken down to the fifth decimal place, these two Ryder Cup rivals are still inseparable on 6.23830.

This adds further spice to their confrontation in the Arabian desert this week, when McDowell and Mickelson both try to rip the Abu Dhabi Championship title from Martin Kaymer's grasp and leap-frog the gifted German into third place in the world.

McDowell spearheads a eight-man Irish challenge in Abu Dhabi, which includes Rory McIlroy, three-times Major Champion Padraig Harrington plus Darren Clarke, Gareth Maybin, Peter Lawrie, Damien McGrane and Michael Hoey.

Paul McGinley, a member of the European Tour Tournament Players Committee which tomorrow unveils Jose Maria Olazabal as Ryder Cup captain for 2012 in Chicago, could also make it into the 126-man field.

Clarke and Maybin both flew from the Joburg Open, in which Charl Schwartzel yesterday became only the third South African, after Ernie Els and Trevor Immelman, to successfully defend the crown.

A four-under-par 67 in the final round at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club helped Schwartzel finish four shots clear of fellow countryman Garth Mulroy. Clarke finished with a two-under par 69 for a share of 20th place on six-under par. Maybin finished one stroke back in a tie for 27th.

Belfast Telegraph


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