"Mr Consistency" Donald strikes at Target Challenge
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2005 Target World Challenge | Wrap | 12 Dec 2005
The week’s Target Challenge may have had an air of the silly season about it but Luke Donald’s win certainly did not.
The 28-year-old, now four year pro, has quickly established himself amongst the elite of the game and if the manner in which he dispatched of this high class field is anything to go by, even greater deeds are close at hand.
It is true that many this week were perhaps in end of season mode, but such was the prizemoney available that most were giving it all that they could in order that they might head to the Xmas break with enough to enhance even their Xmas gifts.
Donald possesses one of the great swings in the modern game highlighted by its balance, poise and understated power. Interestingly Donald does not stand out in any particular category of his game but he combines his skills so well that he is a regular contender, if not winner. He has not missed a cut since the FBR Open in Phoenix earlier this year and had had ten top tens in that time.
Today he beat a field of sixteen, which included six players ranked higher than him in the world and not only did he beat them but he finished so strongly today that his final round of 64 bettered his nearest four rivals by eight shots. He finished the tournament two ahead of Darren Clarke and four ahead of Michael Campbell and Padraig Harrington and earned the healthy sum of US$1.3 million in doing so.
Clarke had taken a four shot lead into day four and by eight over the eventual winner. When he opened with consecutive birdies at the first and second he appeared headed for a runaway win. Donald though turned in three under before unleashing a birdie barrage over the closing nine holes and was there when Clarke stumbled over the closing holes with bogeys at the 16th and 18th.
Campbell’s hectic schedule perhaps caught up on him when he could only close with a last nine of 38 and third was best he could do after leading for much of the early part of the tournament. Harrington too had a struggle late in his round with a double bogey at the last which cost him a share of second with Clarke not to mention a lot of money. It was his second double bogey of the day.
Donald has now accumulated well close to US$4.5 million in season 2005 on both the European and USPGA Tours and heads to a break with the real prospect of even greater things in store for 2006.
Clarke earned $US800,000 for his runner up placing while Padraig Harrington and Michael Campbell were not exactly doing it too tough when each earned huge paydays for third.