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Dublin: 23 °C Wednesday 23 July, 2014

Donald regains top rank as Dufner claims win

Rory McIlroy is the world number two again after Luke Donald finished third at the Zurich Classic in Louisiana.

Image: Gerald Herbert/AP/Press Association Images

JASON DUFNER CLAIMED his maiden PGA Tour win on Sunday, defeating Ernie Els in a playoff at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

Dufner had led the tournament at the start of play on both Saturday and Sunday but a solid, if unspectacular final round, allowed Els to draw level on the last day and force a playoff.

The two players could not be split on the first sudden death playoff on the 18th, with Els missing a birdie putt that would have won the tournament.

But when playing the 18th a second time, Dufner finally triumphed.

The 35-year-old was on the green with his second shot but after just missing a long putt for eagle, he had to wait for Els who missed his birdie opportunity from the edge of the green.

Dufner tapped in for the win and his first-ever PGA title, joining the likes of Lee Westwood and KJ Choi as players to have claimed their maiden Tour victory at the Zurich Classic.

The American only managed a two-under round of 70 on Sunday and Els took advantage at TPC Louisiana.

The 42-year-old South African notched two birdies in the first five holes before an eagle on the seventh meant Els was a shot ahead of Dufner.

Dufner birdied the eighth to join Els on 18 under for the tournament and re-took the lead with a birdie on the 10th, before Els birdied the 11th hole to again draw level.

The duo remained on 19 under for the rest of the final round, meaning a playoff was needed.

England’s Luke Donald matched Els’ performance on Sunday to shoot a five-under 67 and finish third on 17 under, a result which sees him regain the position of World Number One ahead of Rory McIlroy.

The USA’s Ryan Palmer and Graham DeLaet of Canada were tied for fourth on 16 under.

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