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Quiros wins title whilst Donald does unique double
December 12, 2011

Luke Donald became the first player to win the orders of merit on both sides of the Atlantic on Sunday while Spain’s Alvaro Quiros lifted the European Tour’s season-ending Dubai World Championship title.

World number one Donald shot a closing 66 to finish third in the tournament on 16-under 272, one behind fellow countryman Paul Lawrie (67) and three adrift of Quiros (67).

Donald, who had already clinched the U.S. PGA Tour money list in October, picked up $1.5 million for landing the European order of merit and another $487,500 for his performance at the Greg Norman-designed Earth course.

“I’m extremely proud,” the 34-year-old Donald told the presentation ceremony. “This is something I’ve been thinking about for the last half of the season.

“I didn’t think it was possible to win the money lists on both tours. This was never going to be an easy week but it has capped off an amazing year for me,” he said referring to his four victories and a host of top-10 finishes.

The 28-year-old Quiros collected the first prize of $1.25 million after making it a Dubai double—he also lifted the Desert Classic crown in February—by coaxing home a curling, 50-foot, eagle putt at the 18th.

“Obviously I was lucky to hole that long putt,” said the smiling Spaniard on another scorchingly hot day at the Jumeirah Golf Estates. “I love playing in Dubai, the great weather helps a lot.

“Long hitters like me have an advantage here,” added the green-shirted Quiros who also won in the Middle East at the 2009 Qatar Masters.

The billboards in the city call the tournament the ‘greatest show on Earth’ and the players did their best to live up to that description with a final round lit up by a host of birdies and the occasional eagle.

Quiros started out with a two-stroke lead and he began as he meant to go on, blitzing his way to three consecutive birdies from the first.

Lawrie fought back in tenacious fashion, rattling off five birdies in a dazzling seven-hole sequence from the second to throw the destiny of the title up in the air again.

The 42-year-old Scot then found birdies hard to come by on the back nine and Quiros made the green at the 620-yard 18th hole with two mammoth blows before delivering the coup de grace in the style of a flamboyant Spanish matador.

“I felt the pressure because I was leading so I was very pleased to play the golf I did,” said world number 52 Quiros who confessed to being a natural pessimist on the course.

“If I’m able to repeat the thoughts I had today every single week then I think it could make a huge difference. This is the way to take away the pressure, the positive way.”

Donald also ended his campaign in positive fashion with three consecutive birdies.

“Congratulations to Alvaro,” said the Englishman. “What a three to finish—that was an exciting way for the tournament to end.

“It was hard for me to concentrate today. I had so many mixed emotions but just tried to finish strong and three birdies at the end there for me was a nice way to do that.”

Fellow Briton Rory McIlroy needed a victory in Dubai to pip Donald for the money-list title but he could manage only a 71 for 279.

“I didn’t see Rory’s name on the leaderboard but I kind of knew the double was mine,” said the world number one.

McIlroy, 22, who has been struggling with a virus in recent weeks, heaped praise on Ryder Cup team mate Donald.

“He is up there every week and he deserves everything he’s got this year,” said the world number two from Northern Ireland.

“It’s been an incredible year for him. I’ve practised with Luke and played with him—he works incredibly hard and that’s what you need to do to keep that level of consistency up.”

The 2012 European season starts with the $1 million Africa Open in East London, South Africa, from Jan. 5-8.

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