Double delight for Donald
Luke Donald is world number one again after winning the Transitions Championship after a four-way play-off in Florida.
Last Updated: 19/03/12 2:55pm
Luke Donald held his nerve in a four-way play-off to win the Transitions Championship - putting the Englishman back on top of the world.
Donald rolled in a six-foot birdie putt at the first extra hole to clinch the tournament and propel himself above Rory McIlroy in the rankings.
Jim Furyk, Robert Garrigus and Bae Sang-Moon all failed to match his three at the 18th after the quartet had finished locked together at the top of the leaderboard on 13 under par.
The victory means Donald will head to Augusta for this year's Masters in fine fettle as he looks to claim a maiden major.
"It's another step in the right direction towards hopefully gaining some more confidence and trying to win majors," he said. "I feel like I've achieved a lot in my career but that is obviously the missing step.
"This is obviously the perfect preparation. I'll have two weeks off now and I'm looking forward to Augusta."
On taking over top spot in the world rankings, Donald added: "I was certainly a lot more nervous the first time thinking about trying to get to number one. It wasn't my focus this time around; my focus was on winning the tournament."
McIlroy was quick to praise his Ryder Cup team-mate as he said on Twitter: "Well I enjoyed it while it lasted! Congrats @LukeDonald! Impressive performance!"
Donald had signed for a 66 while Garrigus went even better on an eventful Sunday, birdies on the last two holes giving him a 64 that pushed him into a share for the lead.
The pair both then struck superb approach shots on the first play-off hole but Garrigus saw his attempt at birdie stay left of the cup. His rival made no mistake from a similar distance, making it three European victories in a row in America after McIlroy triumphed at the Honda Classic and Justin Rose did likewise at the Cadillac Championship.
Bae, seeking to become only the third South Korean to win a PGA Tour event, managed a final-round 68 to earn him a place in the play-off, while joint-overnight leader Furyk carded a two-under 69.
Retief Goosen, who had been level with Furyk going into the final round at Palm Harbor, Florida, fell out of contention with a double bogey-bogey start to his day. He eventually ended up with a round of 75 to finish on seven under.
It still looked like a South African might win when Ernie Els pushed himself into a narrow lead late on, only to then end with back-to-back bogeys.
He finished up tied with American trio Scott Piercy, Jeff Overton and Ken Duke on 12 under, with Bo van Pelt a further shot back. Had Els won the event he would have qualified for a 19th appearance at the Masters.