May 31, 2010
MADRID, Spain -- Northwestern graduate and 1999 NCAA Champion Luke Donald made three eagles, including one Sunday on the 16th hole to card a closing 67 and win the Madrid Masters by one stroke at 21-under 267.
Donald was tied with Rhys Davies entering the par-5 16th hole Sunday before claiming the lead by nailing his approach from 252 yards to within 12 feet of the cup and draining the eagle putt. Davies had a chance to force a playoff, but missed a 20-footer on the 72nd hole.
The win provided a bounce-back for Donald, who made double-bogey on the final hole at Wentworth two weeks ago to fall into second place at the BMW PGA Championship, the European Tour's flagship event. He moves back into the Official World Golf Rankings' top-10 at No. 9 with the victory, and now is in the top-four in Ryder Cup points, which would give him an automatic spot on the European Team in October.
Donald's win is his seventh overall as a professional and his third on the European Tour. It is his first win on any tour since capturing the PGA TOUR's Honda Classic in 2006. His last win on the European Tour came at the 2004 Omega European Masters.
Lacking a breakthrough win prior to Sunday, Donald still has impressed on both sides of the Atlantic in recent seasons, but 2010 is shaping up to be a special one. Donald is in the top-20 in the FedExCup standings on the PGA TOUR, owning four top-10s (including a second and third) in 11 starts this season.
Most recently, Donald finished third at the Verizon Heritage on April 18 before placing himself among the early leaders at THE PLAYERS Championship in early May. He followed those performances with his second-place at Wentworth and his win Sunday in Madrid.
Northwestern head coach Pat Goss, in his 14th season with the Wildcats, still serves as Donald's swing coach. Goss led the Wildcats into NCAA postseason play for the 11th time in 2010, and coached junior David Lipsky to the individual Big Ten title, NU's third in the last five seasons.