Donald stays top despite a first round loss

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Luke Donald hung on to his title as World Number 1 despite a disappointing performance a the WGC Match Play in Arizona.

The former Rudolf Steiner School pupil was thrashed 5&4 by Ernie Els in the first round of the knock-out competition, but defeats for Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood mean Donald keeps his place at the top of the rankings.

Defending champion Donald’s performance at Ritz-Carlton Golf Course in Dove Mountain was strewn with errors, and South African Els took full advantage to send the Englishman packing.

It was only the third time in the history of the competition that the top seed has been eliminated in the opening round.

That left Donald with an anxious wait to see if Westwood or McIlroy would take the crown and, in doing so, take his world Number One title.

The two would-be Number Ones eventually met in the semi-finals, with McIlroy seeing off popular Englishman Westwood 3&1. McIlroy had shown great resilience to fight back from three down after four holes, but that perhaps drained the Norhern Irishman going into his final showdown later that day.

American Hunter Mahan was the man standing between McIlroy and the title, and, despite having to fend off another McIlroy fightback on the back nine, the Californian took the trophy.

After his lucky escape, Donald will now be turning his attentions to the Masters which gets under way on April 5.

After a number of near misses, he will be hoping that this will be the tournament when he finally gets his hands on a Major.