Sunday, February 27, 2011

Donald cools off Kaymer to land WGC Match Play crown

Luke Donald was always in command in the final in Arizona against Martin Kaymer.

Donald cools off Kaymer to land WGC Match Play crown

(CNN) -- England's Luke Donald beat new world number one Martin Kaymer by 3&2 to win the snow-hit WGC-Accenture Match Play in Arizona Sunday.

Freezing overnight conditions and the unexpected snowfall struck the Dove Mountain course ahead of the 18-hole final, but once it begun it was Donald who warmed to his task from the start.

He pulled three clear by the fifth, play briefly held up by a hailstorm which left the players sheltering for cover, and was never headed.

But Germany's Kaymer hit back when Donald three-putted the short sixth and a birdie on the par-5 eighth saw the gap cut to just one hole.

PGA champion Kaymer drew level as Donald made a hash of the ninth, finding the desert rough with his second, but that was as close as he got to victory.

Donald took the lead again with a birdie on the long 11th, extended it at the next as Kaymer bogeyed and went three-up with a further birdie on the 15th.

He closed out the biggest victory of his career on the short 16th and the $1.4 million check.

It was his third win on the PGA Tour, but first since 2006, taking him to a career-high number three in the new rankings Monday behind Kaymer and compatriot Lee Westwood.

"It couldn't have gone any better -- not to get to the 18th hole in any match this week and pretty much go through reasonably stress-free," Donald told the official PGA Tour website.

"I played solid this week. It's nice to get the victory."

Donald had never trailed throughout his six matches and needed just 73 holes to reach the final, beating Tiger Woods' record of 77.

Kaymer will console himself with taking over as No.1 from Westwood, but called Donald a "very tough opponent" as he could never get to grips with his Ryder Cup teammate in the cold conditions.

In the all-American third place play-off, Matt Kuchar beat Bubba Watson 2&1 in a scrappy match.