He might have graced the 18th fairway at The Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain in practice rounds but that was the last time Luke Donald would see the hole all week at the World Golf Championships – Accenture Match Play Championship.
Donald looked focused and fearless all week long as you mowed down one opponent after another. He even saved a little gas for the final where he faced down the new World #1 ranked player, Martin Kaymer, and disposed of him by a count of 3&2.
The Englishman kicked off his final day with an impressive opening run that saw him get to three up on his German opponent after just five holes.
“The Germanator” had no plans to lie down and by the time they had reached the turn the match was back to all square. That would be the extent of his fight though as he was not able to win another hole while Donald captured the 11th, 12th, and 15th to create enough of a lead to make the last two holes unnecessary.
Even after squandering the lead Donald showed great resolve from that point on. Asked what his mindset was as they drew even he responded, “I felt like even though I squandered a couple holes, three putting 6 and messing up 9 I never got behind. I still had that momentum that not one of my opponents had gotten ahead of me and I just wanted to make sure that stayed the same today. Making a couple birdies to finish it off was very satisfying.”
“I played nicely this week,” said Donald after the match in a huge understatement. He only required 73 holes total to win the championship, besting Tiger Woods’ previous mark of 77 holes.
In his march to the top spot Donald took down an impressive array of players including 2010 PGA Tour money leader Matt Kuchar. Donald won that match by a score of 6&5 after being 7up through ten holes. His other victims, in order, included Charley Hoffman, Eduardo Molinari, Matteo Mannasero, and Ryan Moore.
It is the first big win for Donald, a Northwestern grad who many figured would have multiple PGA Tour titles by now, and even a major or two. This was his first win in the United States in five years.
He now moves to the #3 spot in the Official World Golf Rankings. His previous high was the #6 position.
The action was a little tighter in the consolation final where Matt Kuchar took down Bubba Watson by a tally of 1up.
Meanwhile, down in Mexico, Johnson Wagner earned a PGA Tour title of his own.
The opposite field Mayakoba Golf Classic concluded with a one-hole playoff where Johnson defeated Spencer Levin with a par. Johnson’s only other Tour win was at the 2008 Shell Houston Open.
Champions Tour regular John Cook finished in third place alone.