Donald gets back into winner's circle|
Madrid, Spain (Sports Network) - Luke Donald eagled the 16th hole on Sunday to
shoot a five-under 67 and win the Madrid Masters by a single stroke over
playing partner Rhys Davies.
Donald finished at 21-under 267 at Club de Campo and collected his third
European Tour victory. The Englishman won twice in 2004 on the European Tour
and twice on the PGA Tour, but Donald hadn't made it to the winner's circle
anywhere since the 2006 Honda Classic on the PGA Tour.
"It's definitely a weight off my shoulders," said Donald. "I felt a little
frustrated that I hadn't won in the last four years. I tried to stay positive
This was also sweet retribution from last week. Donald was tied for the lead
last Sunday at the BMW PGA Championship, but double-bogeyed the 17th hole to
lose by a stroke.
"Last week was very disappointing," acknowledged Donald. "To put it behind me
and come out here and win this week, I'm very proud of the way I played. It
feels really good."
Davies, who shared the third-round lead with Donald, shot a four-under 68 on
Sunday. He narrowly missed out on his bid for a second win this year after he
titled at the Hassan II Golf Trophy.
Francesco Molinari held a piece of the lead late until Donald's eagle and a
Molinari bogey on 18. The Italian posted a four-under 68 and finished third at
Graeme McDowell fired a seven-under 65 and was fourth at minus-17.
The tournament came down to Donald, Davies and Molinari. Davies rolled in a
four-foot birdie putt at the 15th to join Donald, who tallied four birdies and
a bogey, in the lead at 19-under par.
Molinari joined the logjam shortly after Davies' birdie. Molinari knocked his
second shot to six feet at the par-five 16th and he converted the eagle putt
to tie for the lead.
The final pairing of Donald and Davies still had the 16th to play and Donald
took advantage. Donald played his second 10 feet right of the flag stick. He
rolled in the eagle putt to move into the lead at 21-under par.
Davies kicked in a short birdie putt on the same hole to trail by one.
Molinari, playing in the group ahead of Donald and Davies, bogeyed the closing
hole and got into the clubhouse at 18-under. That hiccup effectively knocked
Molinari out of the hunt, but the final group had two holes to decide the
Davies appeared to be in trouble at the par-three 17th. He missed the green,
but pitched to eight feet. Donald parred the hole to stay at 21-under, so
Davies needed to make his par putt to remain one behind. Davies sank the putt
to head to the 18th one back.
Donald hit his second toward the hole, but the ball spun back to 25 feet.
Davies found the first cut of rough on the left side and hit his approach to
Donald's birdie putt to seal the victory came up three feet short. Davies
needed to make his putt to force a playoff, but his birdie try ran almost four
feet past the hole.
Davies made his par putt, then Donald did the same to get the victory.
"I hit a couple wayward tee shots, but I kept hitting greens and kept giving
myself chances and putting the pressure on Rhys," said Donald.
Robert Rock carded a four-under 68 on Sunday and came in fifth at 15-under
Peter Lawrie (67), Stephen Gallacher (67) and Jamie Donaldson (70) shared
sixth place at minus-13.
NOTES: Donald's victory moved him into one of the automatic spots for the
European Ryder Cup team...Last year's winner Ross McGowan shot a three-under
69 and tied for 52nd at three-under par...Next week is the Celtic Manor Wales
Open. Jeppe Huldahl won last year's title at the site of this year's Ryder
05/30 12:13:57 ET