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Luke Donald wins again after four years

Luke Donald gained immediate consolation for missing out on Europe’s PGA title by landing his first victory in four years at the Madrid Masters on Sunday, a late eagle finally helping him shake off challenger Rhys Davies.

Donald led from start to finish, closing with a five-under-par 67 for a 267 total, a stroke better than fellow Briton Davies (68) who stuck with him almost to the last.

It took something special to clinch the title, with Donald homing in a second shot to 12 feet for a decisive eagle at 16, with his rival managing no better than a birdie.

Two closing pars by the pair saw Donald edge home, a week after he let the European Tour’s flagship title, the PGA Championship, slip from his grasp at the penultimate hole in the final round at Wentworth.

His dramatic victory in Madrid was his first since winning the 2006 Honda Classic on the U.S. PGA Tour, as a career-threatening wrist injury in 2008 restricted his chances.

“That was a huge eagle to make,” Donald told reporters. “Rhys put a lot of pressure on me, playing very solid all day and never backing off.

“It’s both happiness and relief for me.”

Donald’s victory, coming after his joint second place in the PGA Championship, has hauled him into Europe’s automatic top nine placings for October’s Ryder Cup against the United States.

Davies, 25 on Friday, is also making a bid for a Ryder Cup place after following up his maiden victory in the Hassan Trophy in Morocco in March.

“It didn’t quite come off for me this time but I didn’t make a bogey and made Luke win it,” the Welshman told reporters.

Francesco Molinari (68) also pushed Donald hard. The Italian, playing ahead of the final group, joined the lead when he, too, eagled the 16th.

However, Molinari ran out of steam and his bogey on the 18th left him three shots adrift of Donald.

Scores

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