Wales’ Donaldson ends 10-year Tour drought in N Ireland


Tue, Jul 03, 2012 - Page 18

Welshman Jamie Donaldson ended a 10-year European Tour winless drought to capture the Irish Open at Royal Portrush.

The 36-year-old Donaldson shot a final round 66 to win by four strokes with an 18-under tally.

Donaldson went into the last round leading by a stroke, but soon distanced himself from his rivals with three birdies in succession from the third hole.

He then dropped a shot at the 11th, before bouncing back with three birdies in four holes from the 12th, before dropping a second shot at the 16th, then finishing birdie, birdie.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet, but to be standing here with the trophy is all a bit surreal,” Donaldson said.

Donaldson turned professional in 2000 after capturing the Welsh Amateur Open Stroke-Play Championship, but it took him 255 European Tour events to finally savor success.

“I guess it takes some people longer than others and it’s taken me a lot longer than I thought to win,” the Pontypridd-born player said. “The first three years went too quickly and then I was out for a year with injury, so I didn’t find my feet too soon after that, and then I lost my way a bit, but over the last two to three years I feel as though I have been building to this win and it’s just so nice to be finally holding this trophy.”

It had been a positive week for Donaldson as he began by shooting a 62 at Sunningdale to qualify for The Open and then he recorded a first-ever European Tour hole-in-one on the first day of the Irish Open.

Donaldson earned 333,330 euros (US$420,729) that saw him jump 42 places to 21st on the Race to Dubai money list.

Three players, England’s Anthony Wall (69), Spain’s Rafael Cabrera-Bello (66) and Paraguay’s Fabizio Zanotti (66) shared second place on 14-under.

Wall, who trailed Donaldson by a shot heading into the final round, bounced back from a triple-bogey at the second to play the next 15 holes in six-under.

However, a last hole bogey cost the 37-year-old second on his own.