Jamie Donaldson has been named The Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Month for June following his success in the Irish Open which provided him with his maiden Tour win after 12 years as a professional and in his 255th Tour event.
Donaldson, 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 commanding performance at Royal Portrush.
Scores of 68, 67, 69 and 66 for an 18 under par total of 270 enabled Donaldson to win the Irish Open, which returned to Royal Portrush for the first time since 1947, by four shots from Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Anthony Wall and Fabrizio Zanotti.
“It’s great to be named Golfer of the Month,” said Donaldson. “The win in Ireland was an amazing week and to get this award is the icing on the cake. I’m very flattered to win such a prestigious award on top of getting my first win.
“The Irish Open will live long in my memory and it was worth the wait. To win on a course like that, in front of those crowds was indescribable. It was a very memorable week for me.”
The 36-year-old Welshman’s victory completed an enthralling month on The 2012 European Tour International Schedule launched by Lee Westwood winning the Nordea Masters for a third time.
Darren Fichardt (SAINT-OMER Open presented by Neuflize OBC) and Danny Willett (BMW International Open) also won; Graeme McDowell, the 2010 champion, tied second in the US Open Championship and Ross Fisher enjoyed three top ten finishes. Thaworn Wiratchant also secured a record-equalling 13th title on the Asian Tour with his win in the Queen’s Cup in his homeland of Thailand.
Derek Lawrenson, Golf Correspondent of the Daily Mail, said: “There were some familiar candidates in the frame in the shape of serial winner Lee Westwood and regular contender Graeme McDowell while it was nice to see Ross Fisher put together a consistent run of form.
“However, I was torn between two players who achieved maiden victories that represented the highlight of their careers to date. In Germany Danny Willett showed an iron nerve to win at the fourth play-off hole in the BMW International Open while Jamie Donaldson showed equal resilience to claim the Irish Open. In the end I went for Donaldson if only for the brilliance of his final round 66 – four birdies in his last five holes on a course of the quality of Royal Portrush represented play of the highest order.”
Iain Carter, Golf Correspondent of BBC Radio Five Live, said: “My vote and that of the majority of the panel went to Jamie Donaldson for a great debut win in the Irish Open – an event that took European Tour golf to a new level in its appeal to golf fans.”
Donaldson follows Branden Grace (January), Paul Lawrie (February), Rory McIlroy (March), Louis Oosthuizen (April) and Luke Donald (May) in this year winning a Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Month Award. All six will join subsequent recipients in being considered for The 2012 Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Year Award.