Irish Open @ Royal Portrush, Jamie Donaldson Wins

Dominant Donaldson takes crown

Jamie Donaldson (Getty Images

Jamie Donaldson won his first European Tour event at The Irish Open a t Royal Portrush Golf Club in County Antrim on Sunday, watched by 112,280 spectators who flocked to Northern Ireland. This was Jamie’s 255th event on Tour and he easily won, by four shots in a last round that included eight birdies, shooting a last round of  -6 under par, 66, and a total of -18 under par. During his last round Jamie kept his head down, not glancing at  the leaderboard at all;

” I didn’t really look at any leaderboards on the way around. I didn’t really know what was going on. To have a hole in one the first time in a tournament, and to win it, as well, is very special. ”

This was also the last time his caddie of five years, Jamie Baker would be on his bag, and he paid tribute to his long time friend;

‘ He’s a great mate and he did great for me for four or five years. He’s a good mate of mine and I think he’ll just be happy obviously to see me win, really.“

Anthony Wall, who was one of the players finishing in a tie for second was full of praise for his playing partner, Donaldson;

” I’ve never doubted him. He’s a class act and a super, super player, and he deserves everything he gets because he does work hard and he’s got loads of talent. ”

Anthony completed the tournament in -14 under par, along with, Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Fabrizio Zanotti. Unfortunately for Ireland Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy and Padraig Harrington were unable to provide a fairytale finish for the viewing masses, Padraig being the best of the local contingent finishing tied for seventh on -12 under par, six shots off the lead.

The Irish Open @ Royal Portrush, Donaldson leads after round three.n

Donaldson on course to break title duck

Jamie Donaldson (Getty Images)

Jamie Donaldson leads The Irish Open at Royal Portrush, County Antrim, after the conclusion of the third round. Jamie leads by  one stroke over England’s Anthony Wall, with three times Major winner Padraig Harrington another shot further back. Everyone had to battle against heavy rain and wind on the Portrush links lay-out. In those conditions Jamie was able to fire in a -3 under par round of 69, for a tournament total of -12 under par. Anthony’s -5 under par effort moved into second place at -11 under par.

Jamie assessed his chances;

” I’ve had a few chances, but at the end of the day I’ve not been good enough so far to stand on the last green holding the trophy. You’ve got to keep trying and it’s one shot at a time, one hole at a time. The only person I am playing against, I suppose, is myself. I’ve got to stay out of my own way.  Obviously Padraig is a class player, but it’s me versus me really.”

He also admitted that to day’s round was;

“probably the best round I’ve ever played”.

This is unfamiliar territory for both Jamie and Anthony who have yet to conjure up a win on tour, Jamie with 254 European Tour starts, and Anthony with 364 attempts to register a win. To give you an idea of how life is for Anthony, he is staying in a trailer park, sharing a caravan with Andrew Marshall. Anthony explained;

 “I didn’t want to stay in town because it was going to be quite boisterous. It’s quite a posh caravan, it’s got running water, it’s got gas. I knew we would have a bit of fun and it’s been nice to relax. Half the time you seem to be on your own and you’re sort of killing time.”

 Padraig, in third spot at -10 under and whose last European Tour success was the 2008 US PGA Championship, is not thinking this is going to be an easy win;

“You might think I am the form card, but we are all going to have our little demons out there.”

 Overnight leader Grégory Bourdy ran up an 80, it included a triple bogey eight on the 17th which dropped him to -4 under par for the tournament, eight shots off the lead, he is joined on that score by Graeme McDowell. Rory McIlroy is six shots off the lead, with Darren Clark at -3 under par, and nine shots from the top.

Padraig is the form horse in this race, and you have to be a brave man to bet against him.