WENTWORTH — Briton Luke Donald went to the top of the world rankings for the fourth time in 12 months after strolling to a seemingly effortless four-stroke victory in the PGA Championship at Wentworth on Sunday.
The 34-year-old Englishman took over from Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy at the golf summit after shooting a four-under 68 for a 15-under tally of 273 at the European Tour’s flagship event.
World number 10 Justin Rose (70), partnering countryman Donald in the final round, missed a succession of birdie chances and had to settle for a share of second place with 1999 British Open champion Paul Lawrie (66) on 277.
Ireland’s Peter Lawrie (71) finished in fourth position on 280.
“I thought my win here last year was going to be hard to top, but I really enjoyed the walk down the 18th with a four-shot lead,” said Donald at the prize-giving ceremony.
“This is the biggest event we play on the European Tour and I managed to play a solid back nine to keep Justin and Paul at bay.”
Donald, who retained the PGA title he won for the first time last year in a playoff with Lee Westwood, became only the third player to win the trophy in back-to-back years after Nick Faldo (1980-1981) and Colin Montgomerie (1998-1999-2000).
The anticipated head-to-head “Duel in the Sun” with Rose never materialised as the latter failed to convert half a dozen birdie chances while Donald plotted his way round in typically steady fashion in light winds on the outskirts of London.
Rose smashed his club into the turf in frustration at the 15th hole after a wayward approach landed in a greenside bunker.
While his partner was bogeying that hole, Donald tapped his tummy and heaved a visible sigh of relief after knocking in a knee-trembling par-saving effort from four feet.