LUKE Donald had all the motivation he needed at the BMW PGA Championship – he wanted to win for daughter Georgina, who was born just hours before he teed off in the third round.
Georgina wasn’t due to give birth until the end of June but, unbeknownst to Donald, his wife Diane was induced four weeks early back in their adopted home of Chicago.
With no time to get back, Donald decided to play on and so nearly delivered the perfect gift for the latest addition to his family.
He said: “It was [after Friday’s round] that I discovered that Diane had been unexpectedly induced four weeks before her due date.
“There would have been no way that I could have made it back to Chicago in time for the birth.
“So after making sure that both my wife and Georgina were doing well, Diane and I decided together that I would finish the tournament.”
Donald, who won this event in 2011 and 2012, had opened with a 71 before shooting up the leaderboard with the best score of the day on Friday.
His 67 put him right in contention and a 68 on Saturday, despite the lack of sleep, meant he went out with early leader Thomas Bjorn in the final group on Sunday.
A triple bogey on the sixth, matched by Bjorn, threw the tournament wide open, but the former Beaconsfield and Hazlemere junior member rallied with five birdies to get right back in it, including chip in on the 13th and 16th.
But while he could only par 17 and 18, both par fives, Rory McIlroy birdied both of his closing two holes to win by two while Shane Lowry birdied the last to take second on his own.
Donald said: “It was a very positive week. There were some tough conditions out there with the wind and rain and all sorts.
“Obviously I’d love to take that sixth hole back, as would Thomas, but I was proud of the way I fought back after that to be five under for the last 12 holes.”
However, Donald’s lack of distance cost him on the final hole. The former world number one is undergoing swing changes to gain yardage, but he was just a few short of carrying the water in front of the green on the 18th.
He said: “I gave it a shot at the last but came up a few feet short. I wanted to win for Georgina, but it wasn't to be.”
In a quest for Ryder Cup points, Donald is back in action again this week at The Memorial in Ohio.