Donald tops Kaymer to win first World Golf Championship

By DOUG FERGUSON
The Associated Press
Sunday, February 27, 2011; 6:28 PM

MARANA, Ariz. -- Luke Donald spoiled Martin Kaymer's rise to No. 1 in the world by winning the Match Play Championship on Sunday with a performance so dominant he never played the 18th hole all week.

Not even the snow and sleet could stop Donald.

On a bizarre final day in the high desert, which began with snow covering the fairways, Donald pulled ahead for good with a birdie on the par-5 11th and a par on the next hole, eventually closing out Kaymer on No. 16 for a 3-and-2 victory.

The consolation prize for Kaymer is going to No. 1 in the career, which he assured by reaching the championship match.

Donald was in more dire need of this trophy, however.

It was his first win in America in five years, and it was only his second win worldwide since he captured the 2006 Honda Classic. The 33-year-old Englishman had done just about everything right except win.

He took care of that in a week like no other in the 13-year history of the Accenture Match Play Championship. Donald played only 89 holes in six matches and never trailed in any of them. In fact, he led after 81 of those holes.

"It feels amazing," Donald said. "I had a bit of a monkey on my back. I hadn't won in the U.S. in five years."

Donald won his first World Golf Championship, and became the second player from England to capture the Match Play Championship. He goes to a career-best No. 3 in the world to continue a European resurgence in the ranking.

The next world ranking will be Kaymer, Lee Westwood, Donald and Graeme McDowell. It's the first time since March 15, 1992, that the top four spots have been occupied by Europeans.

Matt Kuchar defeated Bubba Watson in the consolation match and will go to No. 10 in the world.

This Match Play Championship will stand out for reasons beyond golf.


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