Donald wins Match Play; moves to No. 3 in the world|
Marana, AZ (Sports Network) - Luke Donald defeated new No. 1 Martin Kaymer, 3
& 2 on Sunday to win the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
Donald's win over the new No. 1 is expected to move the Englishman to third
when the rankings come out on Monday, his highest ranking ever.
"It feels amazing," Donald said in a televised interview. "I've had a bit of a
monkey on my back for the last few years. I haven't won for five years over
here in the U.S. I broke through."
With Kaymer moving to first, former No. 1 Lee Westwood is expected to be
second, followed by Donald and U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell.
It will knock Tiger Woods out of the top four and for the first time since
1992, Europeans will occupy the top four spots in the official world golf
This win was Donald's third on the PGA Tour, but first since the 2006 Honda
Classic. It was also his fourth European Tour title.
In a bizarre start to Sunday, there was snow on the ground at The Ritz-Carlton
Golf Club, but due to scheduling changes, there was no delay.
Thank goodness for Donald's sake.
He won three of the first five holes with two birdies and a par, but trouble
loomed. Donald lost the par-three sixth, then his driver let him down. He lost
the eighth and when his approach landed in the desert on the ninth, he made
triple-bogey and gave Kaymer the hole.
With the match all-square, Donald got up and down to halve No. 10. One hole
later, Kaymer hit his approach almost five feet from the hole, but Donald hit
a strong third to eight feet. Donald rolled in his birdie putt to put pressure
on Kaymer and the new No. 1 missed the birdie putt to fall 1-down.
At the par-three 12th, Donald landed almost 30 feet from the hole, but Kaymer
fanned his tee ball into the right bunker. He blasted out to 20 feet and
Donald rolled his birdie effort four feet by the cup. Kaymer missed his par
putt, but Donald didn't to move 2-up.
The two halved the next two holes.
Donald hit a good drive at the short, par-four 15th. Kaymer also hit a great
drive and was closer to the putting surface. Donald chipped to three feet and
Kaymer did well to get to four feet. Kaymer conceded Donald's birdie, but
Donald elected to have Kaymer putt out.
The decision proved wise.
Kaymer missed his birdie putt to halve and was 3-down with three to play.
Kaymer needed to win out to force extra holes. Donald immediately applied the
pressure with a tee shot to 13 feet. Kaymer knocked his 30 feet by the
flagstick. He probably needed to make the putt to extend the match.
He didn't and when Donald lagged his birdie putt close, Kaymer conceded the
match and championship to Donald.
"I was a little shaky in the middle of the round and held it together on the
last few holes," Donald said in a televised interview. "Hats off to Martin
becoming No. 1 in the world. It's quite an accomplishment. I guess it makes
this win a little bit sweeter."
Kaymer can certainly take consolation in that new perch atop the world of
"It would have been more satisfying if I would've won and become the No. 1
tomorrow," Kaymer said in a televised interview. "It was always one of my
goals. I can't wait for Monday morning."
Matt Kuchar toppled Bubba Watson, 2 & 1 to win the third-place match.
NOTES: Donald pocketed $1.4 million for the victory...There was a 10-minute
delay due to a hail storm...Donald never trailed in any of his matches all
week and didn't play the 18th hole once...The European Tour is off next week,
but the PGA Tour heads to Florida for The Honda Classic, which was won last
year by Camilo Villegas.
02/27 19:03:41 ET