Jones a career best in OWGR; McIlroy keeps slipping


Matt Jones earned his first PGA Tour win Sunday at the Shell Houston Open and gained the final berth in this week's Masters field. He also rose from 90th to 41st in the latest world rankings.

It's a remarkable rise for the Aussie, who one year ago was No. 293 in the rankings. Since then, he's notched six top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour and now finds himself inside the top 50 for the first time in his career.

Matt Kuchar came up short for the second week in a row, losing to Jones in a playoff after squandering a four-shot lead. The runner-up finish still allowed Kuchar to move up four spots in the rankings, returning to the top 10 at No. 7 after several weeks at 11th in the world.

Sergio Garcia finished third in Houston, and as a result jumped two spots from No. 8 to No. 6. It's the highest the Spaniard has been since August 2009.

Despite a closing 65 to earn a tie for seventh in the Lone Star State, Rory McIlroy fell two spots to No. 9 heading into the season's first major. It's the lowest he's been in the rankings since he was also No. 9 in April 2011. He hasn't been outside the top 10 since January 2011.

Other big jumps this week include Cameron Tringale, who went from No. 165 to No. 113 after a fourth-place finish at Shell. Ryan Palmer and Russell Henley both made gains after T-7 finishes in Houston, with Palmer moving from No. 62 to No. 55 and Henley jumping from No. 49 to No. 43.

Heading into the Masters, the top five in the world rankings remain the same - Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jason Day and Phil Mickelson. After Garcia and Kuchar, Justin Rose is at No. 8, followed by McIlroy and Zach Johnson. Dustin Johnson dropped from 10th to 11th after a first-round withdrawal in Houston.