Luke Donald is third in the Dubai World Championship to win the Race to Dubai title
Donald birdies three of his final six holes to finish three shots behind Alvaro Quiros
The Englishman becomes first player to top PGA and European money list in same year
Rory McIlroy, the only player who could have stopped Donald, finishes tied for 11th place
Luke Donald has won the 2011 Race to Dubai title to become the first golfer in history to top the money list in both Europe and the United States in the same calendar year.
Englishman Donald needed to finish in the top nine of the season-ending Dubai World Championship at the Jumeirah Golf Estates on Sunday to add the European title to the PGA Tour crown he secured last month.
And he achieved that target comfortably, carding three birdies in his final six holes to shoot a second successive six-under-par 66 – the joint best round of the day – for a 72-hole total of 272 (-16).
That was enough to come home third in the 58-strong field, three shots adrift of tournament winner Alvaro Quiros of Spain, who held his nerve to post a five-under 67 for a two-stroke success over Scotland’s Paul Lawrie.
Prior to the tournament, only Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy could have prevented Donald from making history, meaning the top two ranked players in the world were fighting it out for European golf’s top prize.
World number two McIlroy, who came into the tournament in sparkling form after winning the Hong Kong Open the previous week, needed to win in Dubai and hope Donald finished outside the top nine.
But Donald’s third-placed finish meant McIlroy could not overtake his Ryder Cup team-mate no matter what he achieved – and in the end he finished joint 11th, 10 strokes off the pace, after a third round of 71 in a row.
Donald’s year has been a model of consistency, with the 34-year-old winning four times this season, twice on each tour, as well as picking up a host of placed finishes along the way.
He began his season by winning February’s WGC-Accenture Match Play title in Arizona, before the pivotal moment in May when he defeated Lee Westwood in a play-off in the European Tour’s flagship BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth – taking Westwood’s No.1 ranking in the process.
Donald continued that form into July with a four-stroke success in the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart.
I didn’t look at the leaderboard until the 13th hole, but didn’t see Rory’s name up there so I knew the title was mine— Luke Donald
And he effectively secured the PGA Tour title with a two-shot win in October’s Children’s Miracle Network Classic at Disneyland.
Despite his astonishing success this year, Donald has also suffered heartache in 2011 following the sudden death of his father, and the world number one spoke emotionally following his victory.
Donald told the official European Tour website: “My father would have been very proud and he would just give me a big hug. He hopped into my head quite a few times over the closing stretch.”
He continued: “I didn’t look at the leaderboard until the 13th hole, but didn’t see Rory’s name up there so I knew the title was mine.”
Including his $1.5m bonus for winning the Race to Dubai, Donald’s total earnings from Europe alone this year are $7.143m, with McIlroy collecting $5.35m in second place and last year’s winner, Martin Kaymer of Germany, third on $4.67m.
Meanwhile, Quiros finished sixth in the Race to Dubai standings after his second win of the season, following his Dubai Desert Classic success, and sixth of his career.
Quiros had begun his final round two strokes clear of Lawrie, but the former British Open champion had turned things around and was one stroke ahead at the turn.
Going into the final hole, the pair were level. However, Lawrie could only par, while a spectacular eagle putt on the 18th green ensured Quiros ended the season with a prize fund of $3.02m.