Race to Dubai: Luke looking good

With just the the Hong Kong Open to go, Luke Donald remains more than a €1 million ahead in the Race to Dubai.

With just this week’s Hong Kong Open to go, new father Luke Donald remains more than a €1 million ahead in the Race to Dubai standings heading into the season-closing Dubai World Championship in two weeks time.

The reigning World No 1, who has not played any competive golf since shortly before his second daughter was born on the 11th of November, finished his season in America as the US PGA Tour money leader and is hoping to make history by doing the same thing in Europe in the same year.

And with €3,856,394 to second-placed Martin Kaymer’s €2,830,264 and third-placed Rory McIlroy’a €2,724,882, his chances are looking very bright right now.

To crown an exceptional year, Donald would clearly love to win the season-closing Dubai World Championship, but he may now only need a strong finish rather than the first prize of €910,348 to clinch the Race to Dubai title as well – unless McIlroy puts a spanner in the works by winning in Hong Kong.

Kaymer’s name was not on the Hong Kong entry list today so unless a late entry is received from him, it looks as if he is out of the race.

The situation in the vicnity of 60, which is the cut-off mark for Race to Dubai qualifiers, however, is every bit as important to its bottom feeders as it is to its front runners.

After Sunday’s South African Open won by local man Hennie Otto, his move to No 56 in the top 60 bubble will have meant that some one will have been squeezed out of the bubble with others being edged closer to the cut off mark

As things are right now, the man in the hottest seat at No 60 is Ireland’s Peter Lawrie while closest outsiders looking in are Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher (61) and Peter Whiteford (63), England’s Steve Webster (62) and rising star Tom Lewis (64), Bernd Wiesberger (65), the young Austrian who finished second in the SA Open on Sunday, Richard Green (66), one of the Australians who put up such a strong fight at the World Cup last week before finishing in a tie for 4th, and, would you believe it, Ireland’s three-time major winner Padraig Harrington.

On the inside of the Top-60 bubble but still in danger of being edged out in Hong Kong this week are Sweden’s Christian Nilsson (59), Scotland Scott Jamieson (58), Paul Lawrie, still the last Scott to win a major (57), Otto (56) and Welsh young gun Rhys Davies (55).

Here in British sterling were the Top 20 on the Race to Dubai standings on Monday, November 28, 2011:

1 Luke Donald £3,285,392, 2 Martin Kaymer £2,411,197, 3 Rory McIlroy £2,321,419, 4 Charl Schwartzel £1,930,077, 5 Lee Westwood £1,707,685, 6 Anders Hansen £1,481,421, 7 Sergio Garcia (Spa) £1,346,692, 8 Thomas Bjorn £1,292,717, 9 Simon Dyson £1,230,667, 10 Darren Clarke £1,175,241 11 Miguel Angel Jimenez £1,128,977, 12 Alex Noren £1,054,963, 13 Graeme McDowell £958,663, 14 Louis Oosthuizen £937,501, 15 Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano £908,546, 16 Pablo Larrazabal £899,398, 17 Nicolas Colsaerts £859,775, 18 Thomas Aiken £853,332, 19 Joost Luiten £812,139, 20 Alvaro Quiros £810,653.