Luke Donald spoiled Martin Kaymer's rise to No. 1 in the world by winning the Match Play Championship in Marana, Ariz., with a week so dominant that he never played the 18th hole.
On a bizarre final day that began with snow covering the fairways, the match was tied at the turn before Donald won two straight holes. He finished off Kaymer on the 16th hole for a 3-and-2 victory and his first World Golf Championship title.
It was Donald’s first win in America in five years, and 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 rankings.
The new world rankings will be Kaymer, Lee Westwood, Donald and Graeme McDowell. It’s the first time since March 15, 1992, that the top four are Europeans.
Matt Kuchar defeated Bubba Watson, 2 and 1, in the consolation match
Olympia’s Andres Gonzales picked the wrong time to have his worst round at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
The Capital High graduate entered the final round Sunday at 8 under par and five shots off the lead of Johnson Wagner. While Wagner eventually won, beating Spencer Levin with a par on the first playoff hole after both finished at 17-under 267, Gonzales struggled to a 7-over 78 and finished tied for 58th.
WEBB RALLIES TO WIN
Karrie Webb surged ahead with four straight birdies on the back nine and held off Japan’s Chie Arimura for a one-shot victory at the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore.
The 36-year-old Webb finished with a 3-under 69 for a 13-under 275 at Singapore’s Tanah Merah Country Club for her 37th career LPGA tour win.
Webb, who took home a winner’s check of $210,000, was three strokes behind Arimura (71) after a bogey on the 10th before mounting her charge.
AUSSIE WINS OPENER
Australian Mathew Goggin won the Nationwide Tour’s season-opening Panama Championship in Panama City, shooting a 2-under 68 for a two-stroke victory over countryman Alistair Presnell and American Darron Stiles.
The 36-year-old Goggin, a two-time winner on the developmental tour in 1999, had an 11-under 269 total at the Golf Club of Panama. He earned $99,000.
tracking andres gonzales
This week: PGA Tour’s Mayakoba Golf Classic, El Camaleon Golf Club, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico.
Gonzales’ final-round score: 7-over 78.
Position: Gonzales (1-under 283) tied for 58th behind winner Johnson Wagner (267).
Recap: Five bogeys and a double bogey sent Olympian 37 spots down the leaderboard.
Todd Milles, staff writer