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Luke Donald earns PGA Tour card

England's Luke Donald, who was one of the key players during Britain's Walker Cup triumph over the United States earlier this year, has achieved his goal of becoming a US Tour member after just 16 weeks as a pro.

Donald finished joint 23rd in the National Qualifying Tournament at Bear Lakes Country Club on Monday after a flawless closing 69 gave him an 18-under-par 414.

"It feels great," the 23-year-old said. "It's what I've wanted my whole life.

"All the hard work I have put in over the years and I've finally made it. I'm really looking forward to next season."

American Pat Perez won the qualifying tournament with a 27-under-par total of 405 after the six rounds, with the top 35 players and ties in the 166-strong field earning 2002 U.S. Tour cards.

Donald secured his card just four days before his 24th birthday and will now aim to impose himself on the paid ranks in the same way that he shone as an amateur in U.S. collegiate golf.

The Englishman was rated the best amateur in the world over the last couple of years, having won the US championship for college players, the Chicago Open against the area's best professionals and a total of 13 college tournaments in all.

He was chosen as an All-American for three years in a row from 1999 and was golfer of the year in the Big Ten Conference from 1999-2001.

Donald was a key figure as Britain's and Ireland's amateurs beat the United States 15-9 in Georgia in mid-August for their first successful Walker Cup defence on American soil in the competition's 79-year history.

The 1999 NCAA champion from Northwestern University finished his own Walker Cup career with a distinguished record of seven wins and just one loss in two matches against the US

He turned pro soon after the Walker Cup, signing a management contract with international sports management firm IMG.

His debut tournament outing came at the Reno-Tahoe Open in late August, when he failed to make the cut after opening rounds of 75 and 69.

But he gave a stronger indication of his playing potential when he tied for 18th in the Canadian Open in early September and was in contention for the Michelob Championship in October before scores of 73 and 72 over the weekend pushed him back down the leaderboard.


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