Luke Donald made sure he won’t have gone through 2013 without winning a title after defending his crown at the Dunlop Phoenix tournament in Japan to win his first tournament of the year. While Donald didn’t have everything his own way in Japan, the former world number one was value for his win and showed why he had been the favourite with Betfair going into the tournament.
The 35-year-old Englishman started the final round as the Betfair favourite courtesy of a two-shot lead over South Korea’s Kim Hyung-Sung following his two-over-par 73 in the first round with scores of 66 and 65 to take the title for the second successive year. Japan’s Shingo Katayama finished third, while Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Shunsuke Sonoda of Japan shared fourth place three shots further back.
“I’m very excited. My last win as a professional was last year at the Dunlop,” Donald said.
“It’s great to come here and win again. This is a great tournament with some great winners and I’m very proud to have won it back-to-back now.”
Donald is the first player to win the Dunlop, one of Japan’s most lucrative tournaments, for two straight years since Tiger Woods triumphed in 2004 and 2005,but the victory hasn’t disguised the fact that 2013 has been a fairly dismal year for the Englishman.
Slipping to 15th in the world rankings after his winless run, Donald has been on the slide since his all-conquering season in 2011. But the 35-year old looked back to his best in Japan and will be hoping the win could be the catalyst to him getting back to his best in 2014.
There are still many Betfair customers who believe Donald will be among next season’s major winners, and the four-time Ryder Cup winner will be determined to make sure 2014 isn’t another wasted year. in the world rankings after his winless run, Donald has been on the