First major targeted by Donald after he seals unique double

Luke Donald pointed his two index fingers to the sky after completing an unprecedented double – a double that has earned the English world No 1 an amazing £8m.

When Rory McIlroy failed to win the Dubai World Championship – he finished joint-11th – Donald knew he had added the European Tour money list title to the PGA Tour crown in America.

Coming as it did little more than a month since his father died suddenly, Donald did well to hold himself together over the closing few holes knowing what he had achieved.

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The 34-year-old even birdied the last three holes for a second successive 66 and took third place in the tournament, one behind Scot Paul Lawrie and three behind Spain’s Alvaro Quiros, who eagled the 18th for a notable double of his own after taking the Dubai Desert Classic in February. Only when he was being interviewed did the tears well up in Donald’s eyes as he was asked what his father would have thought and done.

“He would have been very proud and he would just give me a big hug,” he said. “My father hopped into my head quite a few times (over the closing stretch).

“I didn’t really look at a leaderboard until the 13th, but didn’t see Rory’s name and so knew it was mine.”

“I had so many mixed emotions. This is something I didn’t think was possible, but it became a possibility midway through the season.

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“It’s driven me to work hard and be as successful as I’ve been. Rory made it tough, but for it actually to happen is almost a weight off my shoulders. History is why we play the game and I’m very proud of it. I got what I came for.”

McIlroy had conceded defeat after a third-round 71 left him in eighth spot, but Donald added: “I was still nervous (yesterday morning). It was important to get off to a good start and I did.”

He birdied three of the first seven holes and his closing hat-trick meant he played the last 46 holes without a single bogey despite the pressure.

It was his 20th top-10 finish in 26 starts this year, four of them victories.

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“I’ve played extremely solid, consistent golf all year and it’s down to a good work ethic and good people around me pushing me hard,” he added.

“I hope it will help me in my quest for a major. It feels amazing and it’s my greatest year for sure. I feel I’ve a lot to achieve still.”

McIlroy, who finished with another 71, has pulled out of this week’s event in Thailand and on doctor’s advice will stay in Dubai for a few days’ rest before flying home.

He has been suffering from a virus and was even told it might be Dengue fever, so is looking forward to putting his clubs away until just before the Abu Dhabi Championship – Tiger Woods as well as Donald will be there too – on January 20-23.

Yorkshire’s Simon Dyson failed to trouble the leaders, finishing three over for the tournament.