Luke Donald has been named The Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Month for May following his successful defence of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club with which he returned to Number One in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Donald, who receives an engraved alms dish and a jeroboam of Moët & Chandon champagne, was praised by the panel - comprising members of the Association of Golf Writers as well as commentators from radio and television - for his powerful performance which will mean he tees up in the US Open next week at the start of his 49th week in total as World Number One.
The 34 year old Englishman, winner of The 2011 Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Year award, emulated Sir Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie by completing his back-to-back win in the BMW PGA Championship and claimed the Tour’s flagship event by being the only player to shoot four sub-70 scores. His rounds of 68-68-69-68 for a 15 under par total of 273 earned him the title by four shots from Paul Lawrie and Justin Rose.
Donald, following his win in a Championship watched by almost 100,000 spectators, declared: “The BMW PGA Championship is our biggest event on The European Tour and the number of people who came this week to support me and the tournament speaks volumes. To come here and defend and get back to Number One is very sweet indeed.”
Donald’s victory led a succession of historic achievements on The European Tour International Schedule in May with Italy’s Francesco Molinari (Real Seguros Open de España), Portugal’s Ricardo Santos (Madeira Islands Open), Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts (Volvo World Match Play Championship) and Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee (ISPS Wales Open) all winning.
Moreover, Roger Chapman, although not eligible for this award, completed an astonishing weekend for Englishmen when only hours after Donald’s win he captured the first Senior Major Championship of the season – the US Senior PGA Championship – in which he led from start to finish.
Derek Lawrenson, Golf Correspondent of the Daily Mail, said: “It was a month of remarkable homecomings and feel-good victories started by Francesco Molinari in Spain at the Tour’s 40th anniversary event. Ricardo Santos must be rightly proud of becoming the first Portuguese to win on home soil, as Luke Donald must be to successfully defend his BMW PGA Championship. Nicolas Colsaerts must get down on his knees every night and be thankful that Volvo remain one of the most loyal sponsors in golf. Roger Chapman’s Major Championship victory on the Senior Tour was just one of those heartwarming stories golf specialises in, while every victory Thongchai Jaidee manages is another notch raised above monstrous odds.
“In the end I’ve gone for Donald, for multiple reasons. He won The European Tour’s flagship event, against the strongest field, and he did it the hard way, from the front on the final day. He is a World Number One with a touch of class and a growing swagger.”
Bill Elliott, Chairman of the Association of Golf Writers, added: “After a spectacular month of really quite brilliant performances by European Tour players and a spectacular US Senior PGA Championship victory for Roger Chapman, one performance stood out and was good enough to echo vibrantly for some considerable time. Luke Donald’s successful defence of the BMW PGA Championship was a stunning display of considered, gritty and nerveless golf played across one of the most testing courses anywhere in the world.”
Donald follows Branden Grace (January), Paul Lawrie (February), Rory McIlroy (March) and Louis Oosthuizen (April) in this year winning a Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Month Award and all five will join subsequent recipients in being considered for The 2012 Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Year Award.