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Donald at No. 1 going into British Open

July 16, 2012 at 7:00 AM   |   Comments

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VIRGINIA WATER, England, July 16 (UPI) -- Three English players, including world No. 1 Luke Donald, and Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy are in the Top 10 heading into this week's British Open.

There are no changes this week in the top of the men's world golf rankings, which were updated Monday, but much attention will be on the highly ranking players as golf moves into its third major tournament of the year.

The 141st British Open begins Thursday at the Royal Lytham and St. Annes Golf Club in England.

Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke is the defending champion and Ireland's Padraig Harrington won the event in 2007 and 2008 but no English player has won the championship since Nick Faldo in 1992.

Donald heads into the British Open having been ranked No. 1 the last seven weeks and for a total of 53 weeks. He and McIlroy have traded the top spot several times this year. Lee Westwood, also from England, is No. 3 and has previously been ranked No. 1. The third English player in Top 10 is ninth-ranked Justin Rose.

The other six players in the top tier are from the United States.

Donald has a ranking points average of 9.549 and McIlroy comes in at 8.530 while Westwood's average is 7.972. Tiger Woods is fourth at 7.654 followed by Webb Simpson (6.540) and No. 6 Bubba Watson (6.223).

Simpson won the U.S. Open and Watson the Masters. Golf's fourth major -- the PGA Championship -- will be Aug. 9-12.

Jason Dufner has an average of 5.831, which is seventh best. Matt Kuchar (5.635), Rose (5.537) and Hunter Mahan (5.209) complete the Top 10.

Zach Johnson won the PGA's John Deere Classic and jumps from 17th to No. 11 in the rankings. Jeev Milkha Singh won the European Tour's Scottish Open, bolting from No. 192 to 87th.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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