LUKE DONALD has become the first ever golfer to capture both the American and European money titles in the same year.
The pundits had already given the 34 year old Englishman the accomplishment back in October when he had a dramatic come from behind win at the 2011 Disney Classic to take the US money title from the favourite Webb Simpson.
But then Rory McIlroy made a late season run on the European Tour to threaten Donald’s hold on the title on the other side of the Atlantic.
Donald went into the 2011 Dubai World Championship last Thursday knowing a win by the Northern Irishman and anything less than ninth by himself would lose him the historic double.
They teed off together as the last group in the first round with Donald uncharacteristically finding the trees in what was a precursor to a quite scratchy round.
Donald was rusty after five weeks away from the game for the birth of his second daughter and McIlroy, the current world No. 2, was looking ominous.
But as he has often demonstrated in recent times, Donald performs when really needed and his three consecutive birdies to finish his final round put an authoritative stamp on what has been a remarkable year.
“It’s something that I didn’t think was possible,” Donald said. “I played extremely solid, consistent golf all year winning four times and playing right at the right moments. I think it is testament to my hard work and it’s nice to see it paying off,” Donald said.
“I had so many mixed emotions but just tried to finish strong and three birdies was a nice way to finish the year.”
The actual Dubai tournament was won by Spain’s Alvaro Quiros who rolled in a huge eagle putt on the 18th green to beat Scotland’s Paul Lawrie by two strokes.
Quiros closed with a 5-under 67 to finish on 19-under while Lawrie (67) made a birdie on the last hole to finish alone in second a stroke ahead of Donald and his final round 6-under 66.
McIlroy, after his opening round 66, finished with three 71’s to be tied for 11th on 9-under.
Donald will be the star attraction at the 2011 JBWere Masters starting this Thursday at the Victorian Golf Club.