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SPORTS
28 May 2012
LUKE DONALD WINS BMW PGA CHAMPIONSHIP AT WENTWORTH

Luke Donald regained his world number one status with a successful defence of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

The Englishman usurped Rory McIlroy in the rankings with an imperious 68 to beat countryman Justin Rose and Scotland's Paul Lawrie by four shots.

Donald, 34, becomes only the third player to retain the title and clinched his sixth tournament win in 15 months.

Rose could not quite match his playing partner and took 70 to end 11 under as 1999 Open champion Lawrie shot 66.

"To defend and get back to number one is very sweet indeed," said Donald, who joins Sir Nick Faldo (1980-81) and Colin Montgomerie (1998-1999-2000) as the only players to make a successful defence of the European Tour's flagship event.

Donald needed only a top-eight finish to take top spot after McIlroy missed the cut at Wentworth, and he took a two-shot lead over Rose into the final round.

The lead was up to three strokes when Rose bogeyed the short second, though he grabbed one back at the third and then drained another birdie on the long fourth to level on 10 under as Donald suffered a temporary blip.

He opted to lay-up short of the green in two but then three-putted following an uncharacteristically poor chip for his only bogey of the round.

But that was as close as Rose got as the imperturbable Donald made back-to-back birdies on the sixth and seventh and stretched clear with a 25ft putt for a birdie at the 10th and another birdie at the 12th.

World number 10 Rose struggled to make any impression and carded seven pars in a row before his own birdie on 12.

Donald added a further birdie from five feet on 16 and went five clear as Rose dropped a shot, after his ball plugged in a bunker, to slip back to join the charging Lawrie, who birdied the last two holes to continue his renaissance after winning in Qatar in February.

Rose birdied the 17th but missed his putt for a four on the last to share second with the 43-year-old Lawrie as Donald calmly made his par for the title.

"This is a big week and I felt some of the pressure," added Donald. "I got the job done and I take a great amount of satisfaction.

"These victories are key to bringing that confidence into the majors."

Donald beat Lee Westwood in a play-off last year to become world number one for the first time, and also went on to become the first player to win the orders of merit on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Chicago-based Donald was overtaken by McIlroy when the Northern Irishman won the Honda Classic in the US in March, since when the pair have traded the top spot six times.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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