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Lefty closes on top ranking

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For the first time since April 6, 1997, Phil Mickelson has moved ahead of Tiger Woods in the World Golf Ranking thanks to his three-stroke victory over Scott Verplank and Chris Kirk on Sunday at the Shell Houston Open.

The victory propelled Mickelson to third in the world past Woods, Graeme McDowell and Luke Donald, and just behind Nos. 1 and 2 Martin Kaymer and Lee Westwood, respectively.

Fourteen years ago Woods began the Masters ranked 13th in the world, Mickelson was ninth, and won his first major by 12 strokes to move ahead of Lefty in the ranking.

A year ago next Sunday Mickelson won his third green jacket and started to inch his way toward Woods and the No. 1 ranking, which he has never held. He failed to secure the top ranking on numerous occasions and had dropped to sixth in the world.

Woods dropped from fifth to seventh this week, behind Donald, McDowell and Paul Casey.