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Page last updated at 23:18 GMT, Sunday, 27 February 2011

Luke Donald beats Martin Kaymer in WGC Match Play final

Luke Donald
The 33-year-old Donald had not won in the United States since 2006

England's Luke Donald defeated new world number one Martin Kaymer 3&2 to win the WGC Match Play in Arizona.

Donald's victory landed him £864,838 and means he jumps six places to number three in the world rankings.

Donald, 33, birdied the second and was three up after five, before Kaymer got back to level at the halfway stage.

However, Donald, who did not trail in any of his matches all week, birdied the 11th, 12th and 15th and closed out the match at the par-three 16th.

It is the Englishman's sixth professional title and his first in an elite World Golf Championships event.

Donald won three of the first five holes, but Kaymer took the short sixth with a par, the long eighth with a birdie and then the 476-yard ninth with a bogey five when Donald came up short in the desert scrub and took a seven.

In danger of going behind for the first time in any of his six games, Donald did well to save a half on the 10th after finding more trouble and then edged in front again when he holed from nine feet on the next and Kaymer missed from six.

The gap doubled when the German failed to get up and down from sand at the 12th and Kaymer looked resigned to defeat when he missed a three-footer to lose the 15th.

Donald's victory, his first in the US since 2006, follows fellow Englishman Ian Poulter's defeat of compatriot Paul Casey in 2010.

"I can't describe it - I'm close to tears," said the Englishman, who also won the Madrid Masters last year. "It feels amazing. I've put a lot of work in over the last five years and it's nice to see it pay off.

"You always have doubts and the wheels were coming off a bit, so the up-and-down on the 10th was huge and to have three birdies in the last six holes was special.

"Hopefully it will open the gates. I'm not a modern-day player because I don't hit it that far and that makes it harder for me, but this is great win and I hope there are more to come."

Of his five-year win drought in the US, Donald said: "It certainly bothered me.

"My goal every year is to win tournaments. It's a long time since I've tried to play for money, you know.

I can't describe it - I'm close to tears. I've put a lot of work in over the last five years and it's nice to see it pay off

Luke Donald

"My first couple of years, maybe, as a rookie, you think about making your Tour card and making cuts and making enough money to play the next year. But it's been a long time since that."

With Kaymer first, Lee Westwood down to second and Graeme McDowell fourth, Europe holds the top four spots in the world rankings for the first time since 1992, when Ian Woosnam, Nick Faldo, Jose Maria Olazabal and Seve Ballesteros were riding high.

Kaymer was attempting to make it five wins in his last 11 starts, a run that began with his first major title at the US PGA championship last August.

But he hailed Donald's consistency and impressive short game at Dove Mountain.

"He's definitely one of the most consistent players on the Tour and I think he's probably the best in the world in the short game at the moment," Kaymer said.

"I have played with Phil Mickelson a few times and it is unbelievable. But what Luke is doing at the moment is a joke.

"Wherever he is, you know that he will make the up-and-down if he doesn't hole it."

In the all-American third-place play-off, Matt Kuchar beat Bubba Watson 2&1.

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see also
WGC Match Play final photos
27 Feb 11 |  Golf
Kaymer and Donald reach WGC final
26 Feb 11 |  Golf
Hard work has paid off - Kaymer
27 Feb 11 |  Golf
McDowell passes Woods in rankings
25 Feb 11 |  Golf
Westwood, McIlroy lose in Arizona
24 Feb 11 |  Golf
Poulter and Woods exit Match Play
24 Feb 11 |  Golf
Golf on the BBC
01 Jul 11 |  Golf

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