Donald sees 'solid' round despite twin mishaps
ARDMORE, Pa. Blame a 2-iron for Luke Donald’s car crash on 17 and train wreck on 18.
Holding a one-shot lead in the U.S. Open, Donald bogeyed the par-3 17th, playing 253 yards, then double bogeyed the par-4 18th, which measures a stout 521 yards.
On each hole, Donald flared a 2-iron shot to the right, leaving his ball in a bunker at 17 and in heavy, thick, unassailable rough at 18. He needed three more shots on 17, four more on 18.
Donald explained 17: “I just went at it too hard from the top, and that’s my kind of miss at the moment, to the right.”
What followed was even worse: “The rough has been tough this week, but I’ve never seen a lie like that (on 18). It was unfortunate. I didn’t deserve much better. I shouldn’t have been over there. But if I had a decent lie, I probably would have had a (short) putt for four.”
On 17, Donald needed to carry a ridge at 240 yards. On 18, his carry distance was 229 yards to the middle of the green. Both these yardage figures came from Donald himself.
“With both yardages, I had to get a little extra out of the 2-iron,” Donald said. “And my poor swings are when I attack too hard from the top, and I get out of sync and they go right.”
Despite his twin mishaps, Donald maintained, “I’ll take the positives out of today – a really solid 16 holes of golf that I played, and I’m only two back.
“It could have been even better. Through (the first) 16 holes, I could have been 4- or 5-under, and really was playing as good a (round of) golf as I have played for a while. I’ll forget those two holes and carry on tomorrow.”
Donald, 35, has never won a major championship. Furthermore, the U.S. Open has been the most frustrating of the four majors for Donald. He has never finished in the top 10 in this championship.
“Well,” Donald mused, “when you look at Phil (Mickelson), he starting winning majors around 34 or 35 (33, actually). So I think that I have some time on my side, luckily, in this game.
“Yeah, of course that’s my goal. I want to win majors. I got to No. 1 in the world, and I’ve won a great amount of tournaments around the world, but I would dearly love to win one of these.”
Looking ahead to the final round, Donald said, “It’s going to be tough. The course is only going to get tougher. I think that I read somewhere this morning that they were going to set up the course today where it would be gettable. I think that it probably was an April Fool’s joke. It was tough out there. There were not many easy pins – a few pins that even in practice I wouldn’t have dreamed they would put them there. But it’s the U.S. Open, and that’s kind of what you expect.”
What nobody would expect is two faulty 2-iron shots to the right from Donald. But that’s old news, and the Englishman seems determined to fight back. It could, of course, be fascinating to see how he handles 17 and 18 in the final round.
“No adjustments,” he said. “I feel like, for the most part, those last three rounds I’ve played some solid golf.”