Tue, Dec 13, 2011 - Page 20 News List

World No. 1 Luke Donald celebrates an historic double


World No. 1 Luke Donald of England poses with the Race to Dubai trophy at the Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Sunday.

Photo: AFP

Britain’s Luke Donald became the first player to win the orders of merit on both sides of the Atlantic on Sunday, while Spain’s Alvaro Quiros lifted the European Tour’s season-ending Dubai World Championship title.

World No. 1 Donald shot a closing 66 to finish third in the tournament on 16-under 272, one behind fellow countryman Paul Lawrie (67) and three adrift of Quiros (67).

Donald, who had already clinched the USPGA Tour money list in October, picked up US$1.5 million for landing the European order of merit and another US$487,500 for his performance at the Greg Norman-designed Earth course.

“I’m extremely proud,” the 34-year-old Donald told the presentation ceremony. “This is something I’ve been thinking about for the last half of the season. I didn’t think it was possible to win the money lists on both tours.”

“This was never going to be an easy week, but it has capped off an amazing year for me,” he said referring to his four victories and a host of top 10 finishes.

The 28-year-old Quiros collected the first prize of US$1.25 million after making it a Dubai double — he also lifted the Desert Classic crown in February — by coaxing home a curling, 50-foot eagle putt at the 18th.

“Obviously, I was lucky to hole that long putt,” said the smiling Spaniard on another scorchingly hot day at the Jumeirah Golf Estates. “I love playing in Dubai, the great weather helps a lot. Long hitters like me have an advantage here.”

The billboards in the city call the tournament the “greatest show on Earth” and the players did their best to live up to that description with a final round lit up by a host of birdies and the occasional eagle.

Quiros started out with a two-stroke lead and he began as he meant to go on, blitzing his way to three consecutive birdies from the first.

Lawrie fought back in tenacious fashion, rattling off five birdies in a dazzling seven-hole sequence from the second to throw the destiny of the title up in the air again. The 42-year-old Scot then found birdies hard to come by on the back nine and Quiros made the green at the 620-yard 18th hole with two mammoth blows, before delivering the coup de grace in the style of a flamboyant Spanish matador.

“I felt the pressure because I was leading, so I was very pleased to play the golf I did,” said world No. 52 Quiros, who confessed to being a natural pessimist on the course. “If I’m able to repeat the thoughts I had today every single week, then I think it could make a huge difference. This is the way to take away the pressure, the positive way.”

Donald also ended his campaign in positive fashion with three consecutive birdies.

Fellow Briton Rory McIlroy needed a victory in Dubai to pip Donald for the money-list title, but he could manage only a 71 for 279.

“I didn’t see Rory’s name on the leaderboard, but I kind of knew the double was mine,” the world No. 1 said.

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