Donaldson breaks duck at Royal Portrush


Jamie Donaldson finally clinched his maiden European Tour title with victory at the Irish Open at Royal Portrush.

The Welshman, who had a new caddie on the bag at the start of the week, shot a final round of 66 to finish on 18-under par to triumph in his 255th Tour start by four shots.

England’s Anthony Wall, Spaniard Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Fabrizio Zanotti of Paraguay were tied for second.

Ireland’s Padraig Harrington was in a tie for seventh six shots back, and Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy finished on 11 under with five others. Darren Clarke finished tied-39th.

Donaldson previously had 32 top-10 finishes to his name since turning professional 12 years ago and his last tournament win was the Mauritius Open in 2008.

With this win he moves up to 21st in The Race to Dubai and inside the world’s top 65. “I’m buzzing and I’m so happy to have won on this course,” Donaldson said afterward. “I don’t think we have played a better one on the European Tour.”

Reminded of his long wait for a Tour victory, Donaldson added: “It’s just been a case of keeping going. I knew that what I was doing was right.”

Last week at Sunningdale, Donaldson qualified for the Open Championship, which is being held at at Royal Lytham from 19-22 July.

Reigning Open champion Darren Clarke, who made a halfway cut in a European Tour event for the first time this year, said: “It’s been an absolutely brilliant week. Obviously I would have liked to score a bit better than I did, but overall I think the event has been enjoyed not just by the professionals, but by the spectators and everybody involved.”

The first Irish Open in Northern Ireland since 1953 was watched by sell-out crowds totalling more than 112,000.

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