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Watney improves to 19th in world ranking

Nick Watney at the 2012 Barclays
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Nick Watney returned to the winner’s circle at The Barclays and to the top 20 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

With a three-stroke victory at Bethpage Black, Watney jumped from No. 35 to No. 19 in the latest world ranking released Monday. That’s his highest position since late March. He finished last season 12th in the world.

Also continuing to climb the rankings this week were two of the protagonists from Bethpage Black, Sergio Garcia (17th to 14th) and Brandt Snedeker (29th to 20th).

“I feel like this is sort of validation as far as the direction I’m going,” Watney said on Sunday.

Across the pond, Paul Lawrie’s victory at the European Tour’s Johnnie Walker Championship vaulted him to a career-best 30th in the world – a remarkable achievement considering the 43-year-old Scot began the season at No. 83.

The top 5 players in the world remained unchanged: Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Tiger Woods, Lee Westwood and Webb Simpson, respectively.