Share this article

print logo

Donald's charge gives him big-money win; World's No. 1 player fires final-round 64

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Already No. 1 in the world, Luke Donald left little doubt who was No. 1 on the PGA Tour.

Believing his only chance to capture the PGA Tour money title was to win at Disney, Donald ran off six straight birdies on the back nine Sunday and closed with an 8-under 64 to come from five shots off the lead and win the Children's Miracle Network Classic.

"This is one of the most satisfying wins of my career," Donald said.

Donald, who trailed Webb Simpson by $363,029 coming into the final tournament of the year, was two behind Simpson when they made the turn. Then came a performance that ranks among Donald's best, even in his greatest season of golf.

He holed four straight birdie putts inside 8 feet, took the lead with an 18-foot birdie on the par-5 14th hole, then sealed his stunning rally with a 45-foot birdie on the 15th hole.

"Everything was on the line," Donald said. "I'm thrilled and over the moon."

It was his second PGA Tour win of the year. Donald also won the Vardon Trophy for the lowest adjusted scoring average. With no one else winning more than twice this year, Donald established himself as a favorite to be PGA Tour player of the year.

The award is a vote of the players, and ballots go out on next week.

"We gave ourselves a chance," Simpson said. "The fact is, playing against the best player in the world, he's going to do something great like that most of the time, and he did. Made six birdies in a row. Tough to compete against."

As for player of the year?

"I don't know yet," Simpson said, who won twice and was No. 2 on the money list and the FedEx Cup. "I think I've played great. Luke has played great. Couple other guys have played well. Still probably up in the air a little bit. But I'm sure I'll vote for myself."

Donald also kept alive his bid to become the first player to win the money title on the PGA Tour and European Tour in the same season. His lead in Europe is just over $1.8 million over Rory McIlroy with five tournaments remaining.

He wound up with a two-shot win over Justin Leonard, who finished with eight pars for a 71. Leonard already is exempt for next year, but kept alive his streak of never finishing out of the top 125 on the money list since joining the tour in 1994.

Donald finished at 17-under 271 and earned $846,000, giving him just over $6.6 million for the year.

Tom Pernice Jr., a 52-year-old who refuses to give up on playing with guys half his age, closed with a 69 for a three-way tie for third, earning enough money to finish at No. 121 and earn back his PGA Tour card.

There were plenty of twists and turns at the bottom of the money list, as players were grinding to finish in the top 125 to have full status on tour next year.

Bobby Gates missed a 6-foot putt on the final hole but still appeared safe. Pernice only moved into the top 125 when Nick O'Hern bogeyed his last hole and fell out of the logjam at third place. On the other side of the Magnolia Course, D.J. Trahan knocked in a 22-foot birdie putt on his last hole at No. 9 -- the second-toughest hole.

That ultimately enabled Trahan to finish at No. 125 on the money list by $1,431 over Gates.

***

Around the greens

*Yani Tseng won the LPGA Taiwan Championship for her 10th worldwide victory of the year and third in front of her adoring home fans. The 22-year-old Taiwanese star closed with a 6-under 66 at Sunrise for a five-stroke victory over Spain's Azahara Munoz and South Korea's Amy Yang.

*Sergio Garcia won the Castello Masters for his first title in almost three years, dominating for the third straight day on his home course for an 11-stroke -- matching the third-largest winning margin in European Tour history.

The Club de Campo del Meditarraneo club champion at the age of 12, shot an 8-under 63 to finish at 27-under 257.

There are no comments - be the first to comment