Ian Poulter beats Luke Donald in World Match Play final
Last updated on .From the section Golf
Ian Poulter beat fellow Englishman Luke Donald 2&1 to win the World Match Play Championship in Spain.
Donald could have replaced Lee Westwood as world number one if he had won, but he could not find his best form.
Poulter edged ahead at the 14th and held his nerve to become the first player to win both world match play titles on either side of the Atlantic.
In the semi-finals, Donald beat Martin Kaymer 5&3 while Poulter edged Nicolas Colsaerts at the first extra hole.
But Donald, who won the WGC Match Play event in the United States in February, and was also aiming for an unprecedented double, could not deny Poulter his second match play title following a 2010 success in Arizona.
It was the 14th trophy of Poulter's career but the first since the Hong Kong Open in November.
"I thought it would be pretty special to win this," said Poulter, who had fallen to 22 in the world rankings but will move up to 15 in Monday's rankings.
"I finally started holing some putts. I've been frustrated for a few months and you have to hole putts to win.
"It's a nice boost. Questions have been asked of me over the last five months."
Poulter, who knocked out Westwood en route to the final, had earlier shown wonderful fighting qualities to come through a thrilling semi-final against Colsaerts.
He trailed by two with four to play but fought back to take the match to sudden death and he secured the win when the Belgian missed a par putt on the 19th hole.
And Poulter needed all those qualities to come through against Donald.
He was behind three times in the final, and also shrugged off an awkward looking slip down a bank trying to thrash his way out of a bush.
But he levelled with a 40-footer on the short 12th, went ahead two holes later and then went two-up with an approach to two feet on the 464-yard 16th.
A half on the next was good enough to ensure the title and £704,000 prize money.
Donald added: "It was disappointing - I ran out of steam a bit and didn't take the opportunities I had. Ian took his opportunities and I didn't."
World number two Donald seized control of his semi-final match against world number three Kaymer early on by winning three holes in a row from the second.
And despite a double-bogey seven on the next, Donald birdied the eighth and clinched the match on the 15th with his seventh birdie of an impressively consistent round.