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Donald extends lead with season closer and takes money title
October 24, 2011

Under the utmost of pressure World Number One Luke Donald shot a Sunday 64 to come from five shots back at the Children’s Miracle Network Classic and not only take the title, but also usurp Webb Simpson atop the PGA Tour Money List, in this, the last event of the season. Donald knew heading into the week at Disney that only a win would do, and the place famous for its Magic Kingdom certainly lived up to its name, as he fired off six birdies in a row on the back nine to win by two from America’s Justin Leonard. The win is Donald’s fourth of the season, and his 14 top ten in 19 starts – and this coupled with his Money List title now sees him very much in contention for PGA Tour Player of the Year honours. He has also extended his lead at the summit of the Official World Golf Rankings to 3.27 over fellow Englishman and World Number Two Lee Westwood.

Sergio Garcia picked up his first win for three years at the Castelló Masters as he romped home over the weekend to blitz the field and win by 11. The Club de Campo del Mediterráneo was his home course growing up, and as tournament host he did not let his duties distract him over the course of the week, shooting rounds of 67-63-64-63 to finish at a staggering 27 under par. His winning margin at the event was the largest on the European Tour since Tiger Woods demolished the field by the same amount at the 2000 Bridgestone Invitational, and it is Garcia’s second win at this event after winning the inaugural event in 2008 - the first in Europe that he has won twice. It also caps off his return to form in 2011, after a couple of quiet seasons by his standards, and having started the year 78 he now finds himself firmly back inside the top 50 in the World at 31.

In a week of success for tournament hosts, Korea’s KJ Choi shot a five under final round 67 to come from three shots back and pick up the title at his own event, the CJ Invitational. Fellow Korean Noh Sung-Yul did his best to challenge Choi but he, American Anthony Kim and overnight leader Lee Ki-Sang could not catch the Players Champion as he held on for his second title of the season and the fifth of his career on the Asian Tour. Having started the year on the brink of falling out of the World’s top 50, Choi now finds himself up to 13 on the ranking.

Toru Taniguchi was a convincing winner of the Bridgestone Open on the Japan Golf Tour after finishing five shots clear of the rest of the pack. Taniguchi was joint leader overnight with Katsumasa Miyamoto, but the 43-year-old stormed to victory after shooting a final-round six-under-par 65. The Japanese collected two birdies in the outward nine and then four more coming back to finish the tournament with a 15-under 269. Only Shingo Katayama could match that performance today and his 65 earned him a four-way share of second place, alongside Koumei Oda (67), Michio Matsumura (68) and Hiroo Kawai (69).

The Nationwide Tour headed to the iconic TPC Sawgrass for the penultimate event of the season, and although the field did not have to deal with the iconic closing stretch of the Stadium Course, the Dye’s Valley course proved just as tough as Australia’s Gavin Coles took the title with a score of six under for the week. He lead by one heading into Sunday, and his one over par 71 was enough to pick up the win by a single stroke from playing partner Jonas Blixt. Coles now finds himself inside the top 25 on the Money List after his fifth win on the circuit, and in a strong position to make it back to the PGA Tour for a fourth time, as well as climbing 158 in the World to 252 on the ranking.

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