Wedge of Heaven
SCRIPT WRITERS could barely have come up with a better tale for Jamie Donaldosn’s Ryder Cup debut.
Had his meteoric rise been any more like a golfing equivalent of Roy of the Rovers people perhaps wouldn’t buy it – too much Hollywood for the historic setting of Gleneagles.
But the Macclesfieldbased star – whose fledgling shots as a youngster were swung at Macclesfield Golf Club – couldn’t have wished for his rookie appearance to have gone any better.
With Europe 10-6 up overnight Wales-born Donaldson was paired with Keegan Bradley for the 10th match of Sunday’s singles showdown.
After Graeme McDow- ell came from three down at the turn to see off Jordan Speith, controversially picked by captain Tom Watson to lead off the American challenge, Rory McIlroy hit seven birdies and an eagles to blow away Rickie Fowler.
Those Irish highs put Europe within two points of retaining the trophy, a further half needed for outright victory.
It wasn’t all going Europe’s way though. Patrick Reed and Phil Mickelson won the away team’s first points of the day, and Hunter Mahan led against Justin Rose.
Matt Kuchar triumphed over Thomas Bjorn to make it 12-9.
But Martin Kaymer’s win over Bubba Watson edged Europe ever closer.
Justin Rose won his fourth point of the weekend, fighting back to take half a point from Mahan.
By this stage back-toback birdies had put Donaldson four up against Bradley, with four to play. And the best was yet to come with a stunning wedge for glory at the 15th hole.
He sent his approach dead straight from around 150 yards, the ball coming to rest a matter of inches from the hole.
For Bradley the game had been up for some time and he conceded to give Donaldson, making his first Ryder Cup appearance at the age of 38, the historic 4&3 victory, sparking scrums of delight on the fairway.
Sergio Garcia added an extra layer of sheen with victory over Jim Furyk and Ian Poulter snatched a half from Webb Simpson at the last.
There were still points to be played for, Victor Dubuisson and Dustin Johnson halving the final match. Before that, Lee Westwood lost out to Jimmy Walker, but the tournament had marked a milestone for him.
He partnered Donaldson for three matches on the Friday and Saturday and the pair’s two wins in the foursomes saw Westwood, one of McGinley’s wild cards, pass Seve Ballesteros’ Ryder Cup points tally.
But the glory was all the Macclesfield lad’s to savour. McGinley had embraced his rookie as that wedge shot arrowed toward the target, knowing his captaincy was to be glorious.
It was a stunning ending to a debut that was set in dreamland from start to that fabulous finish. One that a young golfer would only dream of, if only it hadn’t seemed too farfetched. notched in the morning and afternoon.
First up was Brierley who hit a sweet seveniron to post his ace and set up lunchtime celebrations.
Then, in the afternoon, it was the turn of Neil Mutter, also wielding a seven-iron, on the same hole to post his ace.
No-one at the club can remember a similar feat on the same day and certainly not in the same ‘major’ competition. Wheeler struck again at Davenport, winning a club Stableford wth 37 points, ahead of a six-player logjam on 36.
Davenport ladies played a Stableford qualifier and top of the divisions were Margaret Bruce (36 points), Joy Bradburn (36) and Ros Mann (33).
John Wilkinson was on fire at Shrigley Hall in a Thursday Stableford, posting 44 points to finish eight clear.
●● Jamie Donaldson during the trophy presentation at Gleneagles after his brilliant approach at the 15th