Move Over, Rory; Donald Reclaims World No. 1 Status
Congratulations, Luke Donald, on an impressive sudden-death playoff win Sunday (March 18) over Jim Furyk, Sang-Moon Bae, and Robert Garrigus at the Transitions Championship in Tampa Bay.
Donald stuck his approach on the first playoff hole to seven feet and looked on as Furyk, Bae, and Garrigus missed their birdie putts before holing his for the victory. It was Donald's only birdie on No. 18 in five tries over the Copperhead course at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Fla.
Donald reclaimed the World No. 1 ranking he relinquished March 4 after 39 weeks when Rory McIlroy won the Honda Classic and ascended to the top spot.
The four players completed regulation at 13-under par 271. In the final round, Garrigus shot 7-under 64 to pull into contention, Donald shot 5-under 66, Bae 3-under, and Furyk -- a final round co-leader -- 2-under.
Scott Piercy shot the lowest round of the day -- a 9-under 62 -- and finished in a four-way tie for fifth with Jeff Overton, Ernie Els, and Ken Duke.
A native Englishman who attended Northwestern and now lives with his family in the Chicago suburbs, Donald was the first to play his second shot into 18, hitting a 7-iron 159 yards to seven feet and leaving him closest to the pin.
Donald, 34, who now has five PGA Tour victories, got off to a slow start this year and was feeling a bit overlooked when the charismatic McIlroy grabbed the No. 1 spot at the Honda, which Donald skipped.
"I don't pay too much attention to it, but I certainly wasn't in the media at all," Donald said. "I think people...thought that my last year was maybe a little bit more of, not a fluke, but you know, I don't think many people thought I could do that all over again this year." The term "all that" would refer to Donald's winning four times worldwide and winning the money titles on both the U.S. and European PGA Tours. "Hopefully, I can prove them wrong."
Sunday was a start.