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Donaldson Gets First European Tour Win in Irish Open


Jamie Donaldson fired a 6-under 66 to win the Irish Open at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland. The victory was the first on the European Tour for the 36-year-old Welshman.

Donaldson, who entered Sunday with a one-stroke lead thanks in part to a hole-in-one in the first round, finished at 18-under 270 to win by four shots over England's Anthony Wall (69), Spain's Rafael Cabrera-Bello (66) and Paraguay's Fabizio Zanotti (66).

"It hasn't sunk in yet but to be standing here with the trophy is all a bit surreal," Donaldson said. "I guess it takes some people longer than others, and it's taken me a lot longer than I thought to win.

"The first three years went too quickly and then I was out for a year with injury, so I didn't find my feet too soon after that, and then I lost my way a bit. But over the last two to three years I feel as though I have been building to this win and it's just so nice to be finally holding this trophy."

After turning pro in 2000, Donaldson needed 255 starts to attain his first victory.

Three-time major winner Padraig Harrington was only two shots behind Donaldson to start the final round, but the Irishman closed with a 70 to drop into a tie for seventh at 12-under 276. "The game's good but I've got to hole more putts, and that was the key today," noted Harrington.

"I've got this week off but then the Scottish Open so between this week and Castle Stuart, it should provide good preparation for Royal Lytham," Harrington said in reference to the English site of the British Open in mid-July.

Local favorites Rory McIlroy (67) and Graeme McDowell (66) ended up at 277 and 278, respectively. "I just struggled with the pace of the greens all week, but it's nothing to worry about," said McIlroy, a native of Holywood, County Down.

The highest-finishing American was John Daly at 280. The two-time major winner from Arkansas closed with a 67.

For complete scoring, visit http://www.europeantour.com/europeantour/season=2012/tournamentid=2012046/leaderboard/index.html?showLeaderboard=Y.