Palm Harbor, FL (Sports Network) - Luke Donald birdied the first playoff hole Sunday to win the Transitions Championship and return to No. 1 in the world rankings.
Donald bested third-round co-leader Jim Furyk, Sang-Moon Bae and Robert Garrigus on the 18th hole Sunday at the Copperhead Course. The victory was his fifth on the PGA Tour and after just two weeks away from the top spot in the rankings, the Englishman is back to No. 1.
"I certainly was a lot more nervous the first time, thinking about trying to get to No. 1," Donald said in a televised interview. "This certainly wasn't my focus this time around. I was just focused on trying to win the tournament and it all works out."
Donald posted a final-round, five-under 66 to get in at 13-under 271. Garrigus was first in after a brilliant 64, then Bae joined the mix with a three-under 68. Furyk had a birdie chance at the last, but missed and signed for a two- under 69.
Ernie Els had a great chance at victory, and it was one that would've got him into the Masters. He held a one-shot lead at 14-under par and knocked his approach inside five feet at the 16th. Els missed the putt, then things fell apart for The Big Easy.
His tee ball went way right at the 17th and he made bogey. Els found the fairway at 18, but pulled his approach and left himself with four feet for par. Els missed the putt and lost any chance of a possible playoff.
A clearly agitated Els, who gave a tense interview to Golf Channel's Steve Sands, will now most likely have to win next week's Arnold Palmer Invitational to get into the field at Augusta.
"I'm pretty hot now, and it's difficult to talk with a straight head here," said Els. "If I take stock, I think I'm playing good golf, and I've got to head into the next couple of weeks trying to get a win."
Els shot a four-under 67 Sunday and shared fifth with Scott Piercy, whose early 62 almost held up all day, Jeff Overton (66) and Ken Duke (68) at minus-12.
MORE TO FOLLOW.