uke Donald looked like ending a disappointing week with the consolation prize of keeping the world number one spot in The Masters at Augusta.
With Rory McIlroy once again getting off to a bad start and Lee Westwood's title hopes fading with an opening bogey, Donald's closing 68 did at least serve a purpose as far as the rankings were concerned.
But on three over par there was still no getting away from the fact that the 34-year-old English star had not achieved what he wanted from his 35th major - a first victory.
McIlroy probably needed a top-20 finish to regain top spot, but having slumped from third to 27th with his Saturday 77 the 22-year-old US Open champion played his first 11 holes on Sunday in five over and was down in 45th position on six over.
After three-putting the first - a hole he double-bogeyed in the first and third rounds - McIlroy dropped further shots at the fifth and seventh and after ending the outward half with a birdie, added another bogey on the 10th and double-bogeyed the 505-yard par-four 11th.
Tiger Woods, meanwhile, was heading for his worst finish in the tournament as a professional.
Already three over when he resumed, the four-time champion birdied the second, but then bogeyed the fifth, eighth and 10th, where he three-putted to be five over.
Even with a birdie at the short 12th Woods stood 39th and he stayed there after going in Rae's Creek on the next and having to settle for a par five. His previous worst finish since his amateur days was 22nd in 2004.
Woods came into the week with a career mark of 133 under par for the four long holes at the tournament, but with just the 15th to come he was only one under this time and that told its own story.