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Donald wins Transitions Championship, regains world No. 1 ranking

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Luke Donald played like a man who would be king, winning the 2012 Transitions Championship with a magnificent birdie on the first playoff hole over Sang-Moon Bae, Jim Furyk, Robert Garrigus. Coming from three strokes off the lead to record his fifth PGA Tour win, Donald regained the world No. 1 ranking, displacing the idle Rory McIlroy. The victory was also Donald’s first playoff win.

“I was a lot more nervous the first time,” Donald said of getting to No. 1. “That certainly wasn’t my focus. I was just focused on trying to win the tournament, and it worked out.”

Donald fired a 5-under par 66 in regulation to finish in atop the crowded leaderboard at 13- under. On the first playoff hole, Donald hit a laser-like 7-iron to five feet. Furyk and Bae missed long putts for birdie, and Garrigus narrowly missed a 7 footer that would have sent the competition to  second playoff hole.

A slew of golfers finished outside the playoff, including Ernie Els, Scott Piercy, Jeff Overton and Ken Duke. Donald recorded his 16th top 10 finish in his last 22 events.

Missing the playoff was a biter pill for Els, who had led the tournament much more of the afternoon and was at 14-under with just two holes left to play. But he bogeyed the 17th and 18th holes to finish at 12-under, one shot behind the leaders. Els also missed a chance to win his first PGA Tour event in over three years and an invitation to the Masters. After he tournament, a visibly shaken Els barely managed to keep his composure, snapping at Tour officials and giving a terse post-round interview with television reporters as he came of the course. Els will have one more shot at Augusta at next week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, where he would qualify with a win.

Overton, who carded a 7-under par 64 in the final round had a chance to join the playoff with a birdie on No. 18, but his curling attempt just missed.

Bae, whose syrupy swing reminded onlookers of Els’ legendary tempo, shot a 3-under par 68 to record a career-best second-place finish in his rookie campaign on the Tour. Scott Piercy wowed the galleries with a bogey-free 9-under 62, the lowest final-round score in the history of the Transitions Championship, bettering Joe Durant’s 63 in 2004. Piercy’s amazing round included only nine putts on the opening nine holes.

Thirteen players finished 10-under or better at the Transitions Championship, the most players to finish double digits under par in the history of the event. The previous record was 10 set in 2011. Third round co-leader Retief Goosen was not among them. Goosen, who has been struggling with lower back pain that will require plasma injections this week, recorded a 4-over 75 to finish ted for 20th place. Also posting a disappointing 20th-place finish was Padraig Harrington, who posted a course record 61 in the opening round.

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Michael Williams is the contributing editor of Newschannel8 Capital Golf Weekly and Bunkershot.com, as well as a member of the Golf Writers Association of America.

You can follow Michael on twitter — @Michaelontv

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Williams has a reputation as a savvy broadcaster, and as an incisive interviewer and writer. An avid golfer himself, Williams has covered the game of golf and the golf lifestyle including courses, restaurants, travel and sports marketing for publications all over the world. He is currently working with a wide range of outlets in traditional and electronic media, and has produced and hosted “Sticks and Stones” on the Fox Radio network, a critically acclaimed show that combined coverage of the golf world with interviews of the Washington power elite. His work on Newschannel8’s “Capital Golf Weekly” and “SportsTalk” have established him as one of the area’s most trusted sources for golf reporting. Williams has also made numerous radio appearances on “The John Thompson Show,” and a host of other local productions. He is a sought-after speaker and panel moderator, he has recently launched a new partnership with The O Team to create original golf-themed programming and events. Williams is a member of the United States Golf Association and the Golf Writers Association of America.

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Wednesday’s Photos from the 2018 Honda Classic

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2018 Honda Classic at PGA National’s Champion course (par 70: 7,110 yards) in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

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The field this week is stacked at the top, and it includes defending-champion Rickie Fowler, 2017 FedEx Champion Justin Thomas, four-time major champion Rory McIlroy, and reigning Masters champion Sergio Garcia, who’s making his first PGA Tour start of 2018. Also in the field is Tiger Woods, who committed to play in the event just last week. Woods is coming off a disappointing missed cut at the 2018 Genesis Open.

Last year, Fowler won by four shots over Morgan Hoffmann and Gary Woodland, despite playing his final round in 1-over par.

Check out our photos from the 2018 Honda Classic below!

Wednesday’s Photos

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Tuesday’s Photos from the 2018 Honda Classic

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2018 Honda Classic at PGA National’s Champion course (par 70: 7,110 yards) in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

Related

The field this week is stacked at the top, and it includes defending-champion Rickie Fowler, 2017 FedEx Champion Justin Thomas, four-time major champion Rory McIlroy, and reigning Masters champion Sergio Garcia, who’s making his first PGA Tour start of 2018. Also in the field is Tiger Woods, who committed to play in the event just last week. Woods is coming off a disappointing missed cut at the 2018 Genesis Open.

Last year, Fowler won by four shots over Morgan Hoffmann and Gary Woodland, despite playing his final round in 1-over par.

Check out our photos from the 2018 Honda Classic below!

Tuesday’s Photos

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums.

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Monday’s Photos from the 2018 Honda Classic

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2018 Honda Classic at PGA National’s Champion course (par 70: 7,110 yards) in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

The field this week is stacked at the top, and it includes defending-champion Rickie Fowler, 2017 FedEx Champion Justin Thomas, four-time major champion Rory McIlroy, and reigning Masters champion Sergio Garcia, who’s making his first PGA Tour start of 2018. Also in the field is Tiger Woods, who committed to play in the event just last week. Woods is coming off a disappointing missed cut at the 2018 Genesis Open.

Last year, Fowler won by four shots over Morgan Hoffmann and Gary Woodland, despite playing his final round in 1-over par.

Check out our photos from the 2018 Honda Classic below!

Monday’s Photos

Special Galleries

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums.

Your Reaction?
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