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Wednesday, 11 January 2012
Luke Donald - BMW PGA Champion and World Number One  (Getty Images)
Luke Donald - BMW PGA Champion and World Number One (Getty Images)

Luke Donald is relishing the prospect of returning to the scene of his coronation as World Number One seven months ago when he defends his BMW PGA Championship title at Wentworth Club, Surrey, England, from May 24-27.

The Englishman will line up against the best players in the world in his bid to retain the title he claimed in such dramatic circumstances last year, when he beat his compatriot and then-World Number One Lee Westwood in a play-off after the pair finished level in regulation play on six under par.

Donald has since spent 32 weeks atop the Official World Golf Ranking, winning The Race to Dubai and the US PGA Tour money list along the way – the first time anyone has headed the rankings in Europe and the USA in the same year.

On top of that, the 35 year old also claimed The European Tour Golfer of the Year Award, the US PGA Tour Player of the Year, the US PGA’s Byron Nelson Award for best stroke average and the PGA of America Player of the Year.

Understandably, Donald is eager to return to where his period of world domination began, only 40 minutes away from where he grew up in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.

“It was probably the highlight of my year,” he said. “Going head to head with Lee, who was World Number One at the time, winning the flagship event of The European Tour, at Wentworth, and having family and friends watching as well was something special.

“It was an amazing victory for me; it is one step down from winning a Major. There was a lot at stake. I don’t think in the championship’s history there have been too many times when not only are you fighting for the trophy, you’re fighting for the World Number One position.

“There were so many different emotions and to share that with family and friends meant a lot. I'm looking forward to returning. I narrowly lost two years ago so to get the win last time was great and I cannot wait to get back and defend the title this year.”

The championship has produced some superb champions since Ken Bousfield won the inaugural tournament in 1955, with Seve Ballesteros (1991), Sir Nick Faldo (1978, 1980, 1981 and 1989) Bernhard Langer (1987, 1993 and 1995), Colin Montgomerie (1998, 1999 and 2000) Arnold Palmer (1975) and Ian Woosnam (1988 and 1997) all having inscribed their name on the famous trophy.

Advance tickets for The European Tour’s flagship tournament are currently available at discounted prices, with Adult Season Passes just £60, Weekend Passes £45 and One Day tickets £30.

Sunday Grandstand tickets are already sold out while Clubhouse Hospitality Passes are also booking quickly, with just a few tables left, so reserve now to avoid disappointment.

Tickets are available at www.europeantourtickets.com

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1DONALD, LukeENG18-15
T2LAWRIE, PaulSCO18-11
T2ROSE, JustinENG18-11
4LAWRIE, PeterIRL18-8
5GRACE, BrandenRSA18-7
6STERNE, RichardRSA18-6
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