Donald Wins European Masters With 5-Under

Sunday, September 5th 2004, 11:47 am
By: News On 6

CRANS-SUR-SIERRE, Switzerland (AP) _ European Ryder Cup player Luke Donald shot a 5-under-par 66 Sunday to win the European Masters by five strokes for his second European tour victory.

Donald, an Englishman who won the Scandinavian Masters six weeks ago, eagled the opening hole and finished at 19-under 265. Third-round leader Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain closed with a 72 and was runner-up at 270.

Sergio Garcia of Spain shot a 73 and shared third place with Robert Coles of England and two-time champion Eduardo Romero of Argentina. Coles closed with a 64 for the week's best round, and Romero finished with a 69. Ernie Els of South Africa, who rallied to win last year, had a 71 and was eight strokes off the pace.

Donald, a former NCAA champion at Northwestern, also plays on the U.S. tour.

``I'm glad I made the decision to come over here and play and rejoin the European tour, and everything has worked out just perfectly,'' he said. ``It was a fun week today, especially for me. I made a lot of putts.''

Donald, Jimenez and Garcia were the only members of the European Ryder Cup team playing in Switzerland. Donald was placed on the Ryder Cup team a week ago by captain Bernhard Langer. The showdown against the United States is Sept. 17-19 at Oakland Hills outside Detroit.

``I would hope this justified Bernhard's pick,'' Donald said. It was great all three of us in the Ryder Cup being in the same group. ... I think that is a strong message to send to the U.S. guys and it is great for European morale.''

Donald sank for a 40-foot putt for his eagle on the opening hole. He made the first of seven birdies at the third, then moved into the lead and was not threatened.

``This was more than I expected,'' said Donald, who spent the week living with Garcia in a house the Spaniard has near the course. ``I knew I had the ability to win two tournaments, but having the ability and doing it are two different things.''

Garcia was taken out of the running with a double-bogey on the 14th, hitting his approach over the green and out of bounds. Jimenez, who won in Germany last week, was trying for his fifth title of the year.

``The putts didn't go in the hole, and it was one of those days,'' he said.