England’s Luke Donald repaid European Ryder Cup Captain Bernhard Langer’s faith in him when, a week after being announced as a wild card for The 35th Ryder Cup Matches, he claimed his second European Tour title in the space of five weeks with a five stroke victory in the Omega European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club.
Donald held off the challenges of his Ryder Cup team mates Miguel Angel Jiménez and Sergio Garcia with a final round 66 for a winning 19 under par total of 265. It was his second title on The European Tour International Schedule, following his victory in the Scandinavian Masters by Carlsberg last month, in just 14 appearances. Only Garcia has won his first two titles quicker, requiring only seven events to reach the same figure.
Just as American Stewart Cink won the World Golf Championships – NEC Invitational a week after being announced as a wild card for the United States Ryder Cup Team, Donald followed suit, giving the European Team a boost with his own victory in the Swiss Alps.
“It was great all three of us in The Ryder Cup being in the same group,” said Donald. “I think that is a strong message to send to the US guys and it is great for the European morale.”
Donald started the final round alongside Garcia and one behind Jiménez, who was attempting to win back to back titles and secure a fifth European Tour victory of the season.
But the 26 year old Englishman leapt ahead of his rivals with an eagle on the very first hole and never looked back. A couple of hiccups along the way accounted for four bogeys but each time he dropped a shot he hit back with a birdie and for a fourth successive round picked up seven in total.
That put him five clear of Jiménez with Garcia, Argentina’s Eduardo Romero and England’s Robert Coles a further stroke back on 13 under par. Defending Champion and World Number Three Ernie Els was two shots further back in seventh place after double bogeying the last. Victory earned Donald €266,660 and lifted him to 23rd in the Volvo Order of Merit.
“It was fun playing with Miguel and Sergio,” added Donald. “I have been spending all week with Sergio and we get on really well. It was a fun week today especially for me. I made a lot of birdies out there and it was a lot of fun. Sinking that putt on the first got me off to a great start. Made a couple of bogeys but every time I made a bogey I seemed to come back with a birdie and that was the difference.
“This was more than I expected. I knew I had the ability to win two tournaments but having the ability and doing it are two different things. I’m glad I made the decision to come over and play over here and rejoin the European Tour and everything has worked out just perfectly.”
For Jiménez there was the consolation of second place and a climb to third in the Volvo Order of Merit but he never really got going as he had in the previous three rounds, the putts refusing to drop.
“I didn’t play so good as I played the first three days,” said Jimenez. “The putts didn’t like to go in the hole and one of those days. I tried hard but it happens. Luke Donald played very well, nice and solid. It’s a good boost for The Ryder Cup Team.”
Coles, looking for a top ten finish to secure a start in the Linde German Masters, did better than that with a best round of the week, his 64 lifting him into a share of third place and securing his European Tour card for another season.