VIRGINIA WATER, England — Luke Donald replaced Rory McIlroy at No. 1 in the rankings for the third time in 10 weeks, successfully defending his title in the BMW PGA Championship. It also lifted his hopes of finally capturing a major at the U.S. Open next month.
Displaying his signature consistency with his driver and putter, Donald won the biggest event on the European Tour by four strokes. The Englishman shot 4-under 68 at Wentworth on Sunday for his fourth conssecutive round under 70, leaving him at 15-under.
It was Donald’s second victory of the year, following one at the Transitions Championship in March on the PGA Tour. Last year at Wentworth, he took the top spot in the world from Lee Westwood by beating him in a playoff.
“There’s something sweet about going 12 months and still being No. 1,” Donald said. “It’s an indication that I’m doing the right things.”
Not only did a sixth victory in 15 months earn Donald $950,000, it also gave him a big boost before the U.S. Open in San Francisco.
“I feel I am getting closer. Every time I get a success like this, it adds to my confidence. These victories are key to bringing that confidence to the majors,” said the 34-year-old, who topped the money lists on both sides of the Atlantic last year. “It’s putting four rounds together like I did this week.”
It’s the sixth change at the top of the rankings between Donald and McIlroy in 12 weeks. McIlroy missed the cut at Wentworth after a second-round 79.
Donald became the third player, after Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie, to retain the title at Wentworth, and it marked the first time he has won an event twice in a row.
CHAMPIONS TOUR: In Benton Harbor, Mich., Roger Chapman won the Senior PGA Championship, holding on for a two-stroke victory after leading comfortably throughout the final round Sunday.
Chapman led by five after 54 holes and was never really threatened Sunday. His closing 1-over 72 was his worst score of the tournament – but it was enough to give the Englishman a win at the major championship.
Chapman, who had never won on the Champions Tour, finished at 13-under. He bogeyed three of the last five holes but had enough of a cushion that it didn’t matter.
John Cook was at 11-under after 69. Kenny Perry had a tournament-record 62 at Harbor Shores to finish five shots behind in ninth place.