Donald is Match Play king
Luke Donald moved up to third in the world rankings when he closed out Martin Kaymer 3&2 in the final of the WGC-Accenture Match Play.
Last Updated: 28/02/11 2:11pm
Luke Donald moved up to third in the world rankings when he closed out new number one Martin Kaymer 3&2 in the final of the WGC-Accenture Match Play.
Donald maintained his remarkable record of never being behind in a match in the Arizona desert this week, quickly establishing a three hole lead against his Ryder Cup team-mate.
But the German has not climbed to the top of the rankings for nothing and he had drawn level with the Englishman after winning the ninth.
However, Donald continued to focus on his own game and he was able to capitalise when Kaymer uncharacteristically missed from close range at the 11th and again four holes later.
He struck first again with an 18-foot birdie putt on the long second and preserved the lead with a six-footer for par at the next.
The bad weather that forced the late switch to an 18-hole final returned with a hailstorm to cause a brief delay with the players on the fourth fairway, after which Donald hit his approach to three feet to double his advantage.
With conditions improving the German then drove into the desert scrub at the next, and after taking a penalty drop, a bogey sent him three down after five with Donald getting up and down from a greenside bunker.
Kaymer had his first success when Donald three-putted the short sixth and a birdie on the par-five eighth narrowed the gap to one.
And the match was all-square at the turn after Kaymer won the ninth with a bogey after his opponent came up short in the scrub and ran up a seven.
Donald did well to save a half at the next after finding more trouble and Kaymer was favourite to take the 11th as well, but missed from six feet after his opponent had holed from nine.
One down again as a result, the 26-year-old strayed into sand on the 219-yard next and by bogeying fell two down with six to go.
The next two holes were halved as Donald closed in on the victory, which was handed to him on a plate by Kaymer's miss from three feet at the 15th.
The Englishman then found the heart of the green with his tee shot at the next and when Kaymer missed his long birdie attempt, Donald had two for it - and he took them.
It gives the 33-year-old a cheque for $1.4m, a first WGC title and his first win Stateside since the Honda Classic - where he will tee it up next week - in 2006.
And with Kaymer first, Lee Westwood now down to second and Graeme McDowell fourth, Europe holds the top four positions for the first time since 1992 when Ian Woosnam, Nick Faldo, Jose Maria Olazabal and Seve Ballesteros topped the rankings.
In the all-American third place play-off, meanwhile, Matt Kuchar beat Bubba
Watson 2&1 in a low quality affair.