Donald crowned world No 1 after PGA playoff win

Virginia Water: Luke Donald replaced Lee Westwood as world number one after beating his fellow Briton in a titanic final-day shootout that went to a PGA Championship playoff at Wentworth.

After the pair had finished 72 holes tied on 278 -- six under par -- Donald produced a birdie four at the first extra hole to pick up the first prize of 750,000 euros ($1.07 million).

Donald, who started the week ranked second in the world, struck a majestic third with his wedge at the 18th and the ball spectacularly spun back to finish eight feet from the hole to loud cries from the West Course crowd of `Luke, Luke, Luke`.

Westwood played an almost replica wedge shot to his Ryder Cup foursomes partner but his ball unluckily spun back into the moat at the front of the green and his hopes of remaining at the top of the rankings were effectively ruined.

"This feels great," Donald told reporters. "I`ve been a runner-up a few times in my career and a few times this year but to finally come through in one of the biggest tournaments in the world and after going head to head with Lee is a bit special.”

"It doesn`t get much better than that. I`m not sure it will ever happen again when the number one and number two in the world are in a playoff not only for a win but to take over at the top of the rankings. A bit of unique history has been made."

Donald, who began the round in a tie for the lead with Italian teenager Matteo Manassero, struggled off the tee all day but managed to scramble his way to a one-under 70 on another tough day for scoring at the European Tour`s flagship event.

Westwood Miss

Westwood, playing in the match ahead of his fellow Englishman, notched five birdies in a 68 and had the chance to capture the coveted trophy for the first time at the 18th attempt when he missed a six-foot putt at the 72nd hole.

Britain`s Simon Dyson (69) took third place on 280 and Australian Marcus Fraser, Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin and Ireland`s Shane Lowry shared fourth spot on 282.

Donald said his first PGA Championship victory was all the more important because of the quality of the field assembled here this week.

"Winning is always the priority but being world number one is a great honour," said the 33-year-old, who has recorded top-10 finishes in all but one of the 10 events he has played on the European and U.S. circuits this season.

"This is a big field. To come here and win when seven of the top nine in the world are playing is special," added Donald.

"All the four major champions were here, almost all the Ryder Cuppers, so this feels pretty good. I`ve had a great run this season and it shows it pays to be consistent."

A disappointed Westwood said there should have been no need for a playoff.

"My finish was a bit iffy," the 38-year-old explained. "I three-putted 16 and I had chances to birdie the last two in regulation so that`s the reason I finished second.

"It shouldn`t have gone to a playoff but if you are going to miss your chances, you go into a playoff and they are volatile, aren`t they?."

Bureau Report

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