Jamie Donaldson of Wales closed with a magnificent 66 to win The Irish Open at Royal Portrush. Finishing on 18-under-par, it was his maiden European Tour title in his 255th start.
Donaldson began the final round one shot ahead of Anthony Wall, but when he stood on the first tee the Welshman already had ground to make up. Sweden’s Mikael Lundberg had raced to the turn in just 29 shots.
Wall joined Donaldson on 12-under with a birdie on his first hole, but the Englishman slumped to a triple-bogey eight on the second hole and was playing catch-up from that point onwards.
Donaldson rallied with three straight birdies from the second. He kept the ship steady with six consecutive pars and was not rocked by a bogey four on the 11th. He struck back with birdies at the 12th, 14th and 15th. Another bogey at the 16th suggested a slight wobble for the 36-year-old, but he dismissed it with a brace of birdies on the last two holes. In the end he finished four clear of the field. It was his first European Tour victory in his 255th start on the circuit.
After challenging conditions through the week at Portrush, the final afternoon brought more clement weather and the 30,000-strong crowd enjoyed watching some excellent golf.
Mikael Lundberg eventually posted a 65 to finish in a tie for fifth. Donaldson’s 66 was matched by Fabrizio Zanotti and Rafa Cabrera-Bello who shared second with Wall. The Spaniard made a charge at the top of the leaderboard but came unstuck with a mistake from the rough on the 17th that cost him a bogey.
Home favourite Padraig Harrington finished in a tie for seventh with Scottish duo, David Drysdale and Craig Lee.
The Irish Open
Royal Portrush GC, Country Antrim, Northern Ireland
28 Jun – 1 Jul, purse €2,000,000, par 72
1 Jamie Donaldson (Wal) 68 67 69 66 270 €333,330
T2 Rafa Cabrera-Bello (Esp) 71 67 70 66 274 €149,140
T2 Fabrizio Zanotti (Par) 69 71 68 66 274 €149,140
T2 Anthony Wall (Eng) 67 71 67 69 274 €149,140
T5 Mikael Lundberg (Swe) 69 66 75 65 275 €77,400
T5 Mark Foster (Eng) 66 67 73 69 275 €77,400
T7 David Drysdale (Sco) 70 70 70 66 276 €51,600
T7 Craig Lee (Sco) 73 68 67 68 276 €51,600
T7 Padraig Harrington (Ire) 67 67 72 70 276 €51,600
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage
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