|The Brit became the first man to win the money lists on both sides of the Atlantic, securing both the PGA Tour and European Tour titles [GALLO/GETTY]|
England’s Luke Donald created history in style when he made three birdies in his last three holes at the Dubai World Championship to win the European Tour’s Race to Dubai.
There were only two ways the world No1 could have won the honour – and thus become the only player in the history to win the Money Lists of both US PGA and European Tour.
He either needed to finish inside the top-nine, or hope that world No2 Rory McIlroy did not win the $7.5 million season-ending championship.
Donald ticked both the boxes.
The 34-year-old played bogey-free golf for his last 46 holes – his last bogey coming on the eighth hole in Friday’s second round – and successive weekend rounds of six-under par 66 saw him finish third at 16-under par 272.
On the other hand, a third consecutive one-under par 71 round by McIlroy meant he finished tied for the 11th place at nine-under par 279.
While Donald walked away with the top share of the Race to Dubai Bonus Pool of $1.5 million, the Dubai World Championship was won in emphatic style by Alvaro Quiros.
The Spaniard sank a 40-footer eagle putt on the final hole to win the $1.25 million first prize at 19-under par 269.
The rejuvenated Paul Lawrie matched Quiros’ final round of 67, but that left him two shots adrift of the champion. Donald was one behind at 272.
“It is difficult to sum up my emotions right now. I have wanted this for some months now and obviously, my come-from-behind win in Disney made this all possible,” said Donald.
“I looked up at the leaderboard for the first time on the 13th hole and saw Rory’s name wasn’t there. The leaders were playing well and at that point I knew that I had made history. The last six holes were surreal after that. The pressure just went away and I was able to enjoy myself and have a few smiles.
“I came here to win the Race to Dubai and I managed to do that. If I had won the tournament, it would have been an extra bonus, but obviously Alvaro played really well.”
McIlroy, who pulled out of next week’s Asian Tour event because of the after-effects of a suspected dengue fever, said: “Every time Luke teed up, he finished in the top-five or top-10. That’s incredible mental strength. I have played with Luke and he works extremely hard on his game. This is great reward for that consistency and hard work.”
Quiros shot out of the gates with three birdies in his first three holes, but it speaks volumes about Lawrie’s doggedness that he never let the Spaniard run away from his sights.
In the end, Quiros needed the eagle on the final hole to separate himself from the Scotsman.
“Despite making three birdies, it wasn’t enough for me to take off as Paul was holing every putt. So, I just tried to repeat my process and stayed calm and patient. I just kept telling myself that if I kept fighting till the end, I may not win the tournament, but I won’t be that far away.
“And then the putts started to drop for me and Paul stopped holing his putts,” said Quiros, who is expected to move to 20th in the world rankings when they are released Monday.