The Open 2012: Luke Donald matches best Open finish

By Ged ScottBBC Sport at Royal Lytham & St Annes

World number one Luke Donald matched his best Open finish to end up top Englishman again, while Ryder Cup team-mate Ian Poulter found his form on the final day at Royal Lytham & St Annes.

Donald's closing 69 left him tied with Graeme McDowell for fifth, emulating his effort at Turnberry in 2009.

He made three back-nine birdies in five holes, interspersed with bogeys at 10 and 12, to pick up a £195,000 cheque.

Pouter's highlight was an eagle two at the second, as he holed his approach.

The Woburn-based, Hitchin-born golfer also carded two birdies to finish level par for the championship - tied for ninth.

And, having finished seventh at the Masters, that earned a second top-10 finish at a major in 2012.

The highlight was his early eagle on the par four 481-yard second, which brought the house down at Lytham and a big smile to his face.

"I had 202 yards to the hole," said Poulter. "And I hit a "hold-up" five-iron and had to contend with a right to left wind."

As for Donald, barely a month after a first-round 79 led to him missing the cut at the US Open, he already has his eye on his next major challenge, the US PGA at Kiawah Island on 9 August, preceded next week by the WGC - Bridgestone Invitational at Akron, Ohio.

And he remains confident that his day will come in a major.

"Unfortunately I didn't hole enough putts," Donald told BBC Sport. "But I'll take a lot of positives away from this week.

"Certainly I'll leave this week knowing that my game is definitely good enough to win majors.

"And that's a big step forward for me from a few weeks back from the US Open.

"Even being somewhat in contention, having the crowd really behind me, it's a special feeling.

"There's nothing quite like walking down 18 with the crowds cheering you on and really behind you.

"I can only imagine what that would be like with a one‑shot lead. And hopefully I'll have that opportunity one day."