Donald dominates to the end

Englishman moves up to No. 3 in world ranking

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MARANA, Ariz. --- Luke Donald had only two wins around the world in the past five years, so not many would have given him a snowball's chance in Arizona of winning the Match Play Championship.

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Luke Donald of England tees off on 8th hole while playing Martin Kaymer of Germany in the finals of the Match Play Championship golf tournament Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011, in Marana, Ariz.  Associated Press
Associated Press
Luke Donald of England tees off on 8th hole while playing Martin Kaymer of Germany in the finals of the Match Play Championship golf tournament Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011, in Marana, Ariz.

Turns out be he was more dominant than anyone in the 13-year history of the tournament.

When he polished off Martin Kaymer on the 16th hole Sunday, Donald became the first player to go an entire week without trailing in any match. He played only 89 holes in six matches, another record, and led after 81 of them. And he was so dominant he became the first player to win any golf tournament without ever playing the 18th hole.

Ultimately, all that mattered to Donald was simply winning.

"To come here and beat the top 63 players in the world is very gratifying," Donald said after his 3 and 2 victory. "It's been an amazing week. I had a lot of good things happen -- made a bunch of birdies, never trailed in a match. Kind of one of those weeks where a lot of things went my way."

On a bizarre day in the high desert, which began with snow covering the fairways and featured a 10-minute delay, Donald spoiled Kaymer's rise to No. 1 in the world with a victory that was a long time coming.

It had been five years since he last won on American soil.

"My goal every year is to win," said Donald, who made 32 birdies this week. "It's a long time since I've tried to play for money. I felt like I hadn't won my fair share for as good a player as I felt I was and could be. It was frustrating to me.

"To come here and compete against the best players in the world and win the trophy is very gratifying."

The consolation prize for Kaymer was going to No. 1, which he assured by reaching the championship match.

"It was a very good week for me," Kaymer said. "Of course, I was hoping to win today. I was trying everything I could. I just didn't play as good as the last few days. And the way Luke plays, even a decent round isn't enough."


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