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Golf Roundup

Donald takes win, money title

Associated Press / October 24, 2011

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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 yesterday and closed with an 8-under-par 64 to come from five shots off the lead and win the Children’s Miracle Network Classic in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

“This is one of the most satisfying wins of my career,’’ Donald said.

Donald, who trailed Webb Simpson by $363,029 coming into the final tournament of the year, was two strokes behind Simpson when they made the turn in the final round. 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, Donald established himself as a heavy favorite to be PGA Tour player of the year.

The award is a vote of the players and ballots go out next week. Donald did win the points-based player of the year award from the PGA of America by 4 points over Simpson.

Donald wound up with a two-shot win over Justin Leonard, who kept alive his streak of never finishing out of the top 125 on the money list since joining the tour in 1994.

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. 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.

That ultimately enabled Trahan to finish at No. 125 on the money list by $1,431 over Gates. James Driscoll of Brookline, who began the tournament 125th, closed with a 68, tied for 12th, and finished the season 114th to keep his playing privileges.

European - Sergio Garcia won his first title in almost three years, dominating the Castello Masters in Castellon, Spain, and earning an 11-stroke victory that matched the third-largest margin in European Tour history.

Garcia, 31, playing on a course where he was club champion at age 12, shot an 8-under 63 in the final round to finish at 27-under 257.

“That was for Seve,’’ Garcia said, referring to golfing great Seve Ballesteros, who died of brain cancer in May.

Garcia had shot his best back-to-back rounds of 63-64 to lead the field since Friday, and he did not let up on the final day, recording nine birdies and just his fourth bogey in the event.

“At the beginning of the week there’s always a little extra pressure because you want to do well in front of your home fans and on your home course,’’ Garcia said. “But I felt really good and it showed.’’

Fellow Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano finished a distant second and Alexander Noren was third.

LPGA - Yani Tseng won the Taiwan Championship in Yang Mei for her 10th worldwide victory of the year and third in front of her home fans. Tseng, 22, closed with a 6-under 66 for a five-stroke victory over Spain’s Azahara Munoz (68) and South Korea’s Amy Yang (67).

Tseng finished 16 under and earned $300,000 for her seventh LPGA Tour victory of the season to increase her tour-leading total to $2,873,629.

Asian - Tournament host K.J. Choi won the C.J. Invitational on Jeju Island, South Korea, closing with a 5-under 67 for a two-stroke victory. Anthony Kim (73) tied for third.