South African Charl Schwartzel’s fifth place finish in the Honda Classic saw the Masters champion move up to ninth on the Official World Golf Ranking.
The focus of Sunday’s Honda Classic final round was firmly on the duel between Tiger Woods and newly crowned world No 1 Rory McIlroy, and Schwartzel sneaked up the leaderboard among all the commotion.
McIlroy ended up winning on 12 under par, two ahead of Woods, and Schwartzel moved up two spots with a closing 69 for a seven-under total.
The Masters champion was five off the pace of the young Northern Irishman, but at the start of the round it was a familiar scene to the final round at Augusta last year.
Then, McIlroy enjoyed a four-stroke lead at the start of the last round before his famous collapse on the final nine, opening the door for Schwartzel to claim his maiden Major victory.
This time, both Schwartzel and McIlroy shot the same score as the Irishman went on to lift the title.
Schwartzel, meanwhile, moved back into the top 10 in the world rankings at ninth.
He is now just two places behind his career-high ranking of seventh, which he reached in May last year.
Ernie Els has his eye on getting back into the top 50, currently 65th to qualify for the Masters in April, but was let down by his putter in the final round of the Honda Classic.
If Els fails to make it into the field, it will be the first time he has missed the opening Major of the season since his maiden trip to Augusta in 1994.
Els has already said this year that making it into the Masters field is one of his early season goals, assisting to keep him motivated.
Rory Sabbatini rounded out the South African finishers with a tie for 62nd, falling 28 places on Sunday with a seven-over 77.
Louis Oosthuzien was forced to withdraw after nine holes, citing illness after he stumbled to an eight-over 43 for nine holes.