Luke Donald produced a superb final round of 64 to win the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic at Disney World in Florida and to secure the PGA Tour money list title for 2011.
After Webb Simpson finished runner-up in last week’s McGladrey Classic, the American replaced Donald at the top of the money table. That persuaded the Englishman to make a late change to his schedule and to enter the event at Disney. Although his wife is soon due to give birth, the World Number 1 didn’t want to give up on the chance to become the first player ever to top the money lists on both the PGA and European Tours.
The task was straightforward, if challenging. He needed to win the event and for Simpson to finish worse than second. With nine holes to play, it looked an unlikely result as Donald trailed leader Kevin Chappell by four shots and was also behind playing partner Simpson.
But the 33-year-old rallied and fired off six straight birdies from the 10th. That put him into the lead and two pars later, he’d signed for a 64 and the clubhouse lead at 17-under-par.
With Simpson in at 13-under, it quickly became clear that he wasn’t going to be able to take second place. So it was then down to the later starters to seal Donald’s fate. Neither Kevin Chappell nor Justin Leonard could match the Englishman’s total, so Donald took the title and the money list.
“This is one of the most satisfying wins of my career,” he said. “Everything was on the line, I’m thrilled.”
Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic
Disney’s Palm and Magnolia courses, Lake Buena Vista, Florida
Oct 20-23, purse $4,700,000, par 72
1 Luke Donald (Eng) 66 71 70 64 271 $846,000
2 Justin Leonard (USA) 69 63 70 71 273 $507,600
T3 Kevin Chappell (USA) 70 66 66 72 274 $244,400
T3 Sunghoon Kang (Kor) 68 71 67 68 274 $244,400
T3 Tom Pernice Jr (USA) 68 69 68 69 274 $244,400
T6 Trevor Immelman (RSA) 72 68 66 69 275 $147,110
T6 Billy Mayfair (USA) 68 70 67 70 275 $147,110
T6 Nick O’Hern (Aus) 68 66 70 71 275 $147,110
T6 John Rollins (USA) 71 67 70 67 275 $147,110
T6 Webb Simpson (USA) 68 69 69 69 275 $147,110
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage