Poulter`s Match Play win denies Donald top ranking
Ian Poulter beat Luke Donald in the World Match Play Championship final to deny his fellow Briton the world number one ranking.
Estepona: Ian Poulter beat Luke Donald in the World Match Play Championship final to deny his fellow Briton the world number one ranking.
In a scrappy encounter, Poulter sealed a 2&1 victory to become the first player to win both world match play titles on either side of the Atlantic.
Poulter, who also beat world number one Lee Westwood en route to the final, said: "To beat Lee and Luke was huge. I holed the putts at the right time in both matches."
The Englishman added this trophy to his 2010 triumph in the Accenture World Golf Championship with three decisive holes on the back nine.
Both players had nudged a hole in front at various stages but a stunning 45-foot birdie putt by Poulter on the 12th brought him back level.
Donald had gone ahead after Poulter left his ball in bushes on the long eighth and had to concede the hole, slipping awkwardly while trying to extricate himself from the undergrowth.
Poulter then went one-up with an approach to three feet on the 14th.
Poulter`s killer shot, though, came at the 16th when he fired in to just 18 inches to go two-up before closing the match out with a par on 17.
He said his victory was partly inspired by his lucky ball-marker and a determination to win on his son Luke`s seventh birthday.
Poulter lost his marker when he slipped on the eighth and was relieved to get it back thanks to an eagle-eyed official.
"I panicked when the marker wasn`t in my pocket on the ninth," he told reporters, "but luckily enough a referee found it. It has my kids names on it so it`s very precious and it really does bring me luck.
"I spoke to my little boy Luke today and he said `I want the trophy for my birthday`, so I tried to win it for him."
Donald was also trying for the Accenture/World Match Play double, his in the same year after he won the former at Tucson in late February, as well as leapfrogging Westwood to be world number one for the first time.
The world number two blamed putting frailties in the final for his loss. "Usually I can do it in my sleep but I struggled on the greens," he said.
"I wasn`t too concerned with the (world) rankings, those kind of take care of themselves, but I`ll keep knocking on the door."
Donald had ended world number three Martin Kaymer`s hopes of overtaking Westwood by beating the German 5&3 in the morning semi-finals.
Kaymer conceded that he was given little chance by Donald to avenge a final defeat at Tucson. "It felt that Luke was impossible to beat, he never opened the door."
Poulter defeated Belgian outsider Nicolas Colsaerts in the other semi-final.