Donald surrenders world number one ranking to McIlroy at Heritage

Luke Donald at the RBC Heritage in South Carolina
Luke Donald at the RBC Heritage in South Carolina

Luke Donald surrendered his world number one ranking to Rory McIlroy after finishing the RBC Heritage in the United States in joint 37th.

Donald needed a top-eight placing in South Carolina to stay ahead of the Northern Irishman.

However, he could only finish with a second successive level-par round of 71 to end the week on two over.

McIlroy wrote on Twitter:external-link "#1 again without touching a golf club this week.... I wish it was that easy!"

The tournament was won by Sweden's Carl Pettersson, with Donald never in contention after an opening-round 75.

"Is it a concern? No," said Donald, who finished 16 shots behind Pettersson.

"Obviously, I'd have liked to have played a bit more consistently this year. I built it up nicely last year through tournaments and winning a bunch."

Englishman Donald, who lost a play-off to Brandt Snedeker at the same venue last year, made a poor start to Sunday's final round with a double-bogey six on the first, before birdies on the fifth and sixth helped him salvage some respectability.

Pettersson shot a final round of 69 to finish a comfortable winner on 14 under, five shots ahead of American Zach Johnson.

Colt Knost was one shot further back in third after a disappointing 74.

US Open champion McIlroy last month, and will now do so again despite sitting out this tournament.

The 22-year-old is not expected to play again until next month's Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina.