Clarke leaps to top of Ryder Cup points list

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The Independent Online

Darren Clarke's third-place finish here in the Mercedes Championships, the opening event of the US Tour season, has taken him to the top of the European Ryder Cup table - but down in the world rankings.

The victory by the Australian Stuart Appleby lifts him from 14th to 11th in the world, just behind the leading European, Padraig Harrington, and drops Clarke from 11th to 12th. But the 23.2 ranking points earned by the Ulsterman takes him ahead of Lee Westwood in the Ryder Cup world points list under the new system of qualification.

World ranking points earned anywhere, not just in European tour events, now count towards selection, with five players earning spots in Bernhard Langer's team from that and five from the usual Order of Merit table. Langer then completes the side for Oakland Hills in September with two wild-card picks.

Appleby survived a late challenge from Vijay Singh to win the Mercedes Championships. He led throughout the final round but was made to sweat down the stretch before recording a one-stroke victory in strong winds on Maui's Kapalua Plantation course.

MERCEDES CHAMPIONSHIPS (Kapalua, Hawaii) Final scores (US unless stated): 270 S Appleby (Aus) 66 67 66 71. 271 V Singh (Fiji) 68 64 69 70. 275 D Clarke (GB) 67 69 69 70. 277 T Woods 71 70 65 71, R Goosen (SA) 70 70 64 73. 278 K Triplett 68 69 71 70. 279 A Scott (Aus) 69 74 68 68. 280 S Hoch 68 71 69 72. 281 B Crane 71 74 66 70, D Love III 69 71 69 72. 283 J Furyk 70 71 68 74. 284 J Kaye 74 70 66 74. 285 J Leonard 68 73 71 73, S Micheel 70 71 69 75. 287 T Armour III 73 71 73 70, S Flesch 73 72 72 70, P Jacobsen 70 71 73 73, S Maruyama (Japan) 69 72 72 74, C Campbell 71 76 65 75, K Perry 73 71 68 75. 288 E Els (SA) 73 70 73 72, F Couples 69 72 72 75, J L Lewis 70 71 69 78. 289 M Weir (Can) 71 70 73 75. 291 R Sabbatini (SA) 73 74 74 70. 293 F Lickliter II 73 76 70 74, J Huston 69 72 71 81. 294 B Tway 76 74 72 72, C Stadler 73 78 68 75. 297 B Curtis 73 80 70 74.

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