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McIlroy returns to top 10

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Rory McIlroy has moved up six places to seventh. AFP

PARIS (AFP) – Rory McIlroy returned to the top 10 in the world rankings on Monday after ending an 18-month winning drought with a thrilling victory at Bay Hill, while Tiger Woods closed in on the top 100.

Four-time major winner McIlroy has moved up six places to seventh in the rankings, after playing the last six holes in five-under par to claim the Arnold Palmer Invitational title.

It was the Northern Irishman’s first win since the 2016 PGA Tour Championship.

His fellow former world number one Woods moved to the brink of a return to the top 100 after posting successive top-five finishes for the first time in nearly five years.

The 14-time major champion was ranked outside the top 1,000 just last year, but despite falling out of contention on the final stretch on Sunday, moved up 44 spots to 105th.

The return to form of both McIlroy and Woods has come ahead of the start of the Masters on April 5.

McIlroy will be bidding to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta, while the 42-year-old Woods is hoping to win a first major since the 2008 US Open.

American Dustin Johnson maintains a healthy lead at the top of the rankings from his compatriot Justin Thomas, with Spanish rising star Jon Rahm in third.

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