Wealthy in any language

Updated: 2011-12-13 07:41

(China Daily)

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Wealthy in any language

Luke Donald of England poses with the Race to Dubai trophy he earned after making birdie his last three holes for a third-place finish at the Dubai World Championship on Sunday. "I knew I had made history, and the last six holes were kind of surreal," said Donald, who has spent 27 weeks as world No 1. [Photo/Agencies]

Donald's finish in Dubai makes him first to top winnings list in both Europe and US [Luke Donald's 2011 highlights]

Luke Donald was on top of the world in more ways than one on Sunday after becoming the first player to win the money-list crowns in Europe and the United States, when he made three birdies in his last three holes at the Dubai World Championship to win the European Tour's Race to Dubai.

Rival Rory McIlroy needed to win the Dubai World Championship to deny Englishman Donald the chance of topping the order of merit in Europe, but the young Northern Irishman ended up in joint 11th place at 9-under 279 after closing with a 71.

The 34-year-old Donald, who has been at the summit of the world rankings for 27 weeks, clinched the US Tour's money-list crown in October.

"I couldn't see Rory's name on the leaderboard, but I kind of knew the double was mine by the 13th hole," Donald told reporters after shooting a 66 for 272 to take third place behind Dubai winner Alvaro Quiros of Spain (269).

"I knew I had made history, and the last six holes were kind of surreal," added the winner of this year's WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona, PGA Championship at Wentworth, Scottish Open in Inverness and Disney Classic in Florida.

"The pressure went away and I was able to enjoy myself, have a few smiles and enjoy the walk. I guess that's what it is all about," added Donald.

Spain's Quiros sank a 40-footer eagle putt on the final hole to win the $1.25 million first prize at 19-under par 269.

The rejuvenated Paul Lawrie matched Quiros' final round of 67, but that left him two shots adrift of the champion. Donald was one behind at 272.

McIlroy has been feeling tired and drained after suffering with a viral infection for a couple of weeks and he said this had simply been a tournament too far at the end of a hectic playing schedule.

"I couldn't get anything going when I needed to. I played a nine-hole stretch, the last two on Friday and the first seven on Saturday, in five over par. That's where the tournament got away from me," McIlroy said.

Time off

Wealthy in any language

The world No 2 said he would skip next week's inaugural Thailand Golf Championship, the last event of the season on the Asian Tour.

"I can't wait to have a few weeks off," added McIlroy. "People telling you what to do and where to go, another flight, more sleeping patterns messed up. Next week would have been a big struggle too.

"The doctor told me last night that no matter how bad I'm feeling now I'd be even worse if I played next week."

McIlroy will next be in action at the Abu Dhabi Championship from Jan 26-29.

As for Donald, he was basking in the glow of a campaign he did not even dare to dream of at the turn of the year.

"It's something you always hope for and believe is possible," he said. "But doing it and believing it is totally different.

"There were a lot of lean years there for a while when I wasn't winning. You've just got to keep believing that at some point it's going to be your time."

Donald still has next week's Australian Masters to play in before his competitive year is done.

Donald was asked how his father, who died a month ago, would have reacted to his success.

"He popped into my head a few times today, especially after the 13th hole," the Englishman replied.

"I just remembered him and I think he would have been very proud of me. I'm sure he would have given me a big hug."

Quiros shot out of the gates with three birdies in his first three holes, but it speaks volumes about Lawrie's doggedness that he never let the Spaniard run away from his sights.

In the end, Quiros needed the eagle on the final hole to separate himself from the Scotsman.

"Despite making three birdies, it wasn't enough for me to take off as Paul was holing every putt. So, I just tried to repeat my process and stayed calm and patient. I just kept telling myself that if I kept fighting till the end, I may not win the tournament, but I won't be that far away.

"And then the putts started to drop for me and Paul stopped holing his putts," said Quiros, who was expected to move to 20th in the world rankings when they were released Monday.

Reuters / AFP