Donald records six straight birdies in Disney win

Posted Oct. 23, 2011, at 6:08 p.m.
Last modified Oct. 23, 2011, at 9:04 p.m.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Already No. 1 in the world, Luke Donald left little doubt who was No. 1 on the PGA Tour.

Believing his only chance to capture the PGA Tour money title was to win at Disney, Donald ran off six straight birdies on the back nine Sunday and closed with an 8-under 64 to come from five shots off the lead and win the Children’s Miracle Network Classic.

Donald, who trailed Webb Simpson by $363,029 coming into the finale, was two behind Simpson at the turn. Then came a performance that ranks among Donald’s best, even in his greatest season of golf.

He holed four straight birdie putts inside 8 feet, took the lead with an 18-foot birdie on the par-5 14th hole, then sealed his stunning rally with a 45-foot birdie on the 15th hole.

It was his second PGA Tour win of the year. Donald also won the Vardon Trophy for the lowest adjusted scoring average. With no one else winning more than twice this year, the Englishman established himself as a heavy favorite to be PGA Tour player of the year.

Equally important, he kept alive his bid to become the first player to win the money title on the PGA Tour and European Tour in the same season. His lead in Europe is just over $1.8 million over Rory McIlroy with five tournaments remaining.

Donald wound up with a two-shot win over Justin Leonard, who finished with a 71.

Tom Pernice Jr., a 52-year-old who refuses to give up on playing with guys half his age, closed with a 69 for a three-way tie for third, earning enough money to finish at No. 121 and earn back his PGA Tour card.

There were plenty of twists and turns at the bottom of the money list, as players were grinding to finish in the top 125 to have full status on tour next year.

Bobby Gates missed a 6-foot putt on the final hole but still appeared safe. Pernice only moved into the top 125 when Nick O’Hern bogeyed his last hole and fell out of the logjam at third place. On the other side of the Magnolia Course, D.J. Trahan knocked in a 22-foot birdie putt on his last hole at No. 9 — the second-toughest hole. That ultimately enabled Trahan to finish at No. 125 on the money list by $1,431 over Gates.

LPGA Taiwan Championship

YANG MEI, Taiwan — Yani Tseng won the LPGA Taiwan Championship for her 10th worldwide victory of the year and third in front of her adoring home fans.

The 22-year-old Taiwanese star closed with a 6-under 66 at Sunrise for a five-stroke victory over Spain’s Azahara Munoz and South Korea’s Amy Yang.

Tseng finished at 16 under and earned $300,000 for her seventh LPGA Tour victory of the season to push her tour-leading total to $2,873,629. She donated $100,000 to the Taiwan Golf Association to support junior golf.

Tseng won her first four events this year, taking the Taiwanese tour’s Taifong Ladies and sweeping the Australian Women’s Open and Ladies Masters before opening the LPGA Tour season with a victory in the LPGA Thailand. The LPGA Tour player of the year for the second straight season, the top-ranked Tseng won major titles this summer in the LPGA Championship and Women’s British Open.

Yang finished with a 67, and Munoz had a 68.

Castello Masters

CASTELLON, Spain — Sergio Garcia won the Castello Masters for his first title in almost three years, dominating for the third straight day on his home course for an 11-stroke — matching the third-largest winning margin in European Tour history.

The Club de Campo del Meditarraneo club champion at the age of 12, shot an 8-under 63 to finish at 27-under 257. He opened with rounds of 67, 63 and 64.

Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano had a 64 to finish second.

C.J. Invitational

JEJU ISLAND, South Korea — Tournament host K.J. Choi won the Asian Tour’s C.J. Invitational, closing with a 5-under 67 for a two-stroke victory.

The 14th-ranked South Korean star finished at 17 under at Haesley Nine Bridges Golf Club.

Countryman Noh Seung-yeol was second after a 66. American Anthony Kim (73) and third-round leader Lee Ki-sang (74) tied for third at 13 under.

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