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Donaldson ends win drought with Irish Open triumph

Jamie Donaldson won his first European Tour event at the 255th attempt on Sunday winning the Irish Open at Royal Portrush

Story highlights

  • Welshman claims maiden European Tour win at 255th attempt at Irish Open on Sunday
  • The 36-year-old Donaldson finishes on 18-under par to claim €333,330 first prize at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland
  • England's Anthony Wall finishes in a tie for second; Padraig Harrington's challenge fades with final round 70
  • Rory McIlroy posts final round 67 to finish in tie for 11th

Jamie Donaldson claimed the first European Tour title of his career with a resounding four-stroke victory at the Irish Open on Sunday.

The Welshman made sure of his first win in 255 attempts with a closing six-under par round of 66 at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland -- the first time the event has taken place north of the border since 1953.

"I guess it takes some people longer than others, and it's taken me a lot longer than I thought to win," Donaldson said.

"The first three years went too quickly and then I was out for a year with injury, so I didn't find my feet too soon after that, and then I lost my way a bit. But over the last two to three years I feel as though I have been building to this win and it's just so nice to be finally holding this trophy," he added.

The 36-year-old started his final round trailing Sweden's Mikael Lundberg who set off at a blistering pace going out in 29 strokes.

But Donaldson immediately set about reclaiming his overnight lead, bagging three birdies in the opening four holes to set the tone for the rest of an assured final round.

    A bogey four at the par three 11th hole was followed by birdies at the 12th, 14th and 15th holes.

    Another bogey at the 16th failed to unnerve Donaldson who closed out like a champion birdieing the closing two holes to finish the week on 18-under par.

    Donaldson, who pocketed a winner's check of €333,330, finished four shots clear of England's Anthony Wall, Rafa Cabrera-Bello from Spain and Paraguay's Fabrizio Zanotti in second.

    Wall, who was paired with Donaldson during Sunday's round, paid tribute to the Welshman afterwards.

    "I've never doubted him. He's a class act and a super, super player, and he deserves everything he gets because he does work hard and he's got loads of talent," Wall said, EuropeanTour.com reported.

    Hopes of an Irish winner faded on Sunday when Padraig Harrington could only manage a closing round of 70 to finish six shots adrift of Donaldson in tie for seventh place with Scotland's Craig Lee (68) and David Drysdale (66).

    Rory McIlroy had too much ground to make up on the final day but finished with a bogey-free round of 67 to claim a share of 10th place on 11-under par.