Ian Poulter beat Luke Donald in the World Match Play Championship final on Sunday to deny his fellow Briton the world No. 1 ranking.
In a scrappy encounter, Poulter sealed a 2-and-1 victory to become the first player to win both world match play titles on either side of the Atlantic.
Poulter, who also beat world No. 1 Lee Westwood en route to the final, said: “To beat Lee and Luke was huge.”
The Englishman added the trophy to his triumph at the Accenture World Golf Championship last year with three decisive holes on the back nine.
Both players had nudged a hole in front at various stages, but a stunning 45-foot birdie putt by Poulter on the 12th brought him back level.
Donald had gone ahead after Poulter left his ball in bushes on the long eighth and had to concede the hole, slipping awkwardly while trying to extricate himself from the undergrowth.
Poulter then went one-up with an approach to within three feet on the 14th.
Poulter’s killer shot, though, came at the 16th when he fired in to just 18 inches to go 2-up, before closing the match out with a par on 17.
He said his victory was partly inspired by his lucky ball-marker and a determination to win on his son Luke’s seventh birthday.
Poulter lost his marker when he slipped on the eighth and was relieved to get it back thanks to an eagle-eyed official.
“I panicked when the marker wasn’t in my pocket on the ninth, but luckily enough a referee found it. It has my kids names on it, so it’s very precious and it really does bring me luck,” he told reporters. “I spoke to my little boy Luke today and he said: ‘I want the trophy for my birthday,’ so I tried to win it for him.”
Donald was also trying for the Accenture and World Match Play double, his in the same year after he won the former at Tucson in late February, as well as leapfrogging Westwood to be world No. 1 for the first time.
The world No. 2 blamed putting frailties in the final for his loss.
“Usually I can do it in my sleep, but I struggled on the greens,” Donald said. “I wasn’t too concerned with the [world] rankings, those kind of take care of themselves, but I’ll keep knocking on the door.”
MADEIRA ISLANDS OPEN
AFP, MADEIRA, PORTUGAL
Michael Hoey bagged his second European Tour title on Sunday after the Northern Irishman saw off England’s Jamie Elson by two strokes to land the Madeira Islands Open.
Birdies at the eighth and 14th holes formed the basis of Hoey’s march to glory and he could afford a dropped shot on the par-three 13th, as a final round of 71 saw him finish on 10-under.