Donald on course to regain No 1 ranking


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The Independent Online

Jason Dufner beat Ernie Els in a sudden-death play-off last night to win the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, an event which saw Britain's Luke Donald regain top spot in the world rankings.

Donald needed a top-seven finish at Avondale to regain pole position from Rory McIlroy – and he got it – finishing third. However, the winner of the tournament was American Dufner, who edged out Els on the second hole of the play-off to land his first PGA title.

The laid-back journeyman, a runner-up three times on the US circuit, sealed the win with a two-putt birdie on the second extra hole at the TPC Louisiana, the par-five 18th.

Both players had good birdie chances at the first extra hole, also the 18th, but Dufner missed his attempt there from seven feet and Els from six feet.

The duo had finished the regulation 72 holes on 19-under-par 269, Els eagling the seventh on his way to a five-under 67 and Dufner narrowly missing a 10-foot birdie putt at the last to close with a 70. Britain's Luke Donald fired a 67 to finish alone in third at 17 under and will regain the No 1 spot from Northern Irishman McIlroy when the official rankings are issued today.

Meanwhile, Bernd Wiesberger of Austria eased to a maiden European Tour victory in clinical style yesterday, the overnight leader keeping his pursuers at arm's length to record a five-shot victory at the Ballantine's Championship in South Korea. Starting his round with a five-stroke cushion, the 26-year-old signed off with a bogey-free four-under-par 68, playing his last 59 holes at the Blackstone Golf Club in Seoul without dropping a shot to finish on 18-under.

Richie Ramsay, who closed with a 65, did manage to reduce the gap to three shots at one stage but never really posed a serious threat to the runaway winner.

"I just tried to enjoy it and I had the three best rounds of my life," Wiesberger said.