Luke Donald came into the final round of the Transitions Championship six positions out of the lead. After carding a final round 66, he and three others would go to a playoff to decide this year's victor.
Robert Garrigus, Sang-Moon Bae, Jim Furyk and Donald, would all reconvene on the 18th tee, to draw and see who would lead them off in the playoff.
The playoff could have involved as many as six players, or not even needed.
Ernie Els bogeys his final two holes, including missing a short putt on 18 to join the others in the playoff to decide the event.
“I’m pretty hot now, and it’s difficult to talk with a straight head here,” Els said just after his round. “If I take stock, I think I’m playing good golf, and I’ve got to head into the next couple of weeks trying to get a win.”
All four players would find themselves with good looks coming into the green. No one better than Garrigus, who hit a booming drive leaving himself just 116 yards to the pin.
Furyk and Bae found the green with their approaches.
Though neither could match the 7-iron from Donald.
The 5-time winner on the PGA Tour hit a superb approach shot into the 18th green from the right rough.
His iron shot barely missed finding the green side bunker, rolling to within six-feet below the hole. Giving Donald the best look at birdie so far.
Garrigus, who would go last after his absolute bomb off the tee, would also hit a great approach shot into the green. Leaving himself a good look at par, as Donald did.
Furyk and Bae would both miss there long birdie attempts, from 40 and 18 feet. Setting the stage for either Garrigus or Donald to jar their putts and claim victory.
Garrigus was slightly further from the cup and would putt first.
From seven feet, he would push it wide to leave the door wide open for Donald's uphill putt.
Not taking too long over the putt. Donald dropped his putt in the left side of the jar to wrap up the event, and lay claim to the No. 1 ranking in the Official World Golf Rankings.Ending Rory McIlroy's two week run at the top.
He first reached the golfing summit by winning a playoff over Lee Westwood at Wentworth last May. This win would require a little more work, as he would have to better; Furyk, Garrigus and Bae in sudden death.
“I was a lot more nervous the first time,” said Donald of getting back to No. 1. “That certainly wasn’t my focus. I was just focused on trying to win the tournament, and it worked out.”
Donald finished the event with rounds of 67, 68, 70 and a final round 66, en route to his sixth PGA Tour victory. As well as reclaiming that No. 1 spot in the OWGR.
This win will certainly give Donald the momentum that he and other players look forward heading into the first major of the season. Three short weeks away in Augusta at The Masters.
Will this win propel Donald to the favorite at Augusta? Probably not.
Though it certainly vaulted him towards the top of that list, come the first week of April.