Golf Roundup

Snedeker denies Donald win, No. 1 ranking

Associated Press / April 25, 2011

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Brandt Snedeker rallied from six shots behind and beat Luke Donald in a playoff to win The Heritage and deny the Englishman the No. 1 world ranking yesterday in Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Donald would’ve risen to the top spot in the world from No. 3 had he won. His countryman, Lee Westwood, moved from No. 2 to No. 1 after winning the Indonesian Masters earlier yesterday.

Snedeker and Donald traded birdies on the first extra hole, No. 18, and pars on the second one, No. 17.

Donald had saved par from difficult spots on the 71st and 72d holes to force the playoff, then did it again on the second extra hole. But his luck ran out on Harbour Town Golf Links’ lighthouse final hole when he got a partially buried lie in a front bunker.

Donald blasted out about 15 feet from the flag and his chip for par from just off the green hit the back edge of the cup and bounced away, giving Snedeker his second career PGA Tour title and first since the 2007 Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C., during his rookie season.

Snedeker finished with a 7-under-par 64 to match Donald at 12 under. Donald shot his second straight 70.

Tommy Gainey finished a stroke back after a 68.

“It was going to be some big rewards if I won today,’’ Donald said. “But I’ll try and find the positives from this week and move on.’’

Snedeker, who started 10 groups before the leaders, pushed his way into contention with seven birdies over his first 12 holes. He rolled in a 12-footer for par on his 72d hole and headed to the clubhouse to wait while Donald kept him on the edge of his seat.

“It was brutal,’’ Snedeker said of his time in front of the TV waiting and watching while Donald finished his round.

“To win this time, after all the hard work I put in the last three or four years, trying to improve, trying to get better,’’ he said. “I feel like my game is finally there.

“It’s a storybook ending really, to be playing Luke in a playoff, to even have a chance to win was exciting to me.’’

After Donald reached 12 under with an 18-foot birdie putt on No. 13, he missed putts for birdie on Nos. 15 and 16. Then Donald looked like he’d shoot himself out of it, sending his tee shot on the par-3 17th off the back, then landing his approach into the bunker in front of No. 18. Both times Donald chipped within 4 feet to save par.

Asian — Westwood, who celebrated his 38th birthday yesterday, finished a 3-under 69 for a three-stroke victory over Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee in the Indonesian Masters in Jakarta, moving back to No. 1 in the world.

Westwood opened the final round birdie-bogey and then made eight straight pars. He had to wait out a lightning delay on the final hole before recording a 19-under 269.

Park Hyun-bin of South Korea briefly shared the lead before a bogey on No. 11. Jaidee made a charge, but missed a few key putts on his way to shooting a 65.

Champions — David Eger and Mark McNulty won the better-ball Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf in Savannah, Ga., on the second playoff hole when Kenny Perry and Scott Hoch both missed short putts.

Eger and McNulty, who started four shots off the lead in the 54-hole event at The Club at Savannah Harbor, shot 11-under 61 in the final round for 27-under 189. Perry and Hoch shot 64 to get into the playoff.

European — Nicolas Colsaerts set a tournament record at the China Open in Chengdu, finishing at 24 under to win by four shots.

The Belgian, who regained his European Tour card only last year, made six birdies in a 6-under 66 to total 264 and beat the old mark by five strokes.

Pablo Martin (63), Peter Lawrie (68), Soren Kjeldsen (66), and Danny Lee (65) were next at Luxehills International Country Club.