Donald claims first prize
Luke Donald beat Lee Westwood in a play-off to win the BMW PGA Championship and go to world number one.
Last Updated: 06/06/11 11:47am
Luke Donald claimed the BMW PGA Championship title and snatched the world number one spot from Lee Westwood after beating his fellow Englishman in a play-off on a day of high drama at Wentworth.
Both men had finished on six-under par - Donald, the joint overnight leader, after a one-under 70 and Westwood, who started the day two shots back, following a three-under 68.
But at the first hole of the play-off - the 18th - Donald hit his third shot close to the pin while Westwood, who had also laid up, saw his ball spin back into the water and his world number one spot go with it.
England's Simon Dyson posted a two-under-par 69 to finish alone in third, two behind the leaders and two shots ahead of Marcus Fraser, Shane Lowry and Raphael Jacquelin in fourth.
In addition to being only the third Englishman to top the rankings - Sir Nick Faldo and Westwood were the others - Donald is also just the 15th golfer to hold that spot since they began in 1986.
It is also his fifth European Tour victory in his 96th start and extends his lead at the top of the Race to Dubai (he has now won €2,581,495 this season).
Donald had started out on Sunday in much the same fashion as he began Saturday - by dropping shots to par. The difference was that he lost only two strokes and stopped the rot quicker than in round three.
In fact, he must have wondered what he needed to do to lose the lead because, despite those two early bogeys, he was still on top thanks to the errors of others.
Slowly, however, Westwood gained the upper hand and moved two clear after a brilliant birdie at the long 15th.
He looked to have one hand on the trophy but on the 16th hole there was a crucial two-shot swing: Westwood three-putted for bogey and then, minutes later, Donald tapped in for birdie.
Now tied for the lead, neither man played the final two holes with any sort of authority and a play-off was needed - to determine both the tournament and the world's number one spot.
Westwood found trouble from the tee but with both players laying up it turned into a test from 100 yards out and Donald triumphed.
After Westwood found water and then putted out, Donald converted his birdie putt and then raised his arms to the crowd.
"I'm not going to lie," Donald said afterwards, "being number one feels fantastic. It's a great honour and a great achievement.
"But I've always said winning is top of the list. I won the World Matchplay but matchplay and stroke play are different.
"Strokeplay is a tougher win in a certain way. You have to beat a bigger, deeper field.
"To come here, against the top three in the world, against six of the world's top seven, against all the Ryder Cuppers and all the four major champions, and to beat them in strokeplay feels pretty good."
Westwood will be disappointed with his finish, whilst for Donald it should give him the confidence to take advantage of his stunningly consistent golf - this was his 14th top ten finish in his last 16 starts and third win in exactly 12 months.
Step too far
For the Italian teenager Matteo Manassero, who started the day tied for the lead with Donald, it was a step too far. He failed to make birdie in the last 30 holes of the tournament and dropped to tied seventh.
Third-placed Dyson completed his best Wentworth finish on his ninth visit. The chirpy Yorkshireman moved into contention with early birdies but fell short of setting a challenging target for Donald and Westwood.
Australia's Fraser and Ireland's Lowry posted four-under-par rounds of 67 early in the day to jump up the leaderboard and finish in a tie for fourth alongside Frenchman Jacquelin (71). Lowry, who finished birdie, birdie, eagle, described it as "the best week of my professional career."
There was also a bright finish for Colin Montgomerie, who briefly led the event on day one. His three-under-par 68 helped him to a first top ten finish on the European Tour since he was second in the 2008 Open de France.