Donald’s win places him in elite company (Men’s Golf)

Elia Powers Column

Quick — name the most prominent Northwestern athlete to graduate in the past 10 years.

Here’s a hint: Look toward the links.

That’s right, while we were fixated on football and bogged down with basketball, a golfer from Britain was bringing home the brass.

Luke Donald, who The Daily chose as NU’s No. 2 Athlete of the Century three years ago, has lived up to the billing. In fact, he’s been the best thing to come out of Evanston since Todd Martin.

And Monday, as rain washed away the final round of the Southern Farm Bureau Classic in Madison, Miss., Donald walked away with the championship trophy — his first as a PGA professional.

Donald, who graduated from NU in 2001, finished the three rounds at 15-under-par, a stroke ahead of runner-up Deane Pappas.

Donald, 24, became the 18th first-time winner on the PGA Tour this season with his victory at the Annandale Golf Club.

“Coming up to this week I had played steady, but I never really contended,” he told The Associated Press. “This is a big step for me. It’s going to give me a lot of confidence going into the offseason.”

NU men’s golf coach Pat Goss, who still works with Donald on his mechanics and schedule, spoke to him following the tournament.

“He was disappointed (the event was washed out),” Goss said. “But winning a pro tournament means the world to a player. It answers scheduling questions.”

Meaning Donald, whose win jumped him from 106th to 58th on the PGA money list, doesn’t have to worry about earning his card for next season.

Donald has proven that he’s on par with some of the PGA’s top players. He’s made 10 consecutive cuts and tied for 18th at the 2002 U.S. Open.

While at NU, he set himself apart from the competition. His sophomore year resum