In contention at Scottish Open, Jamie Donaldson hoping for fairy tale comeback

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In contention at Scottish Open, Jamie Donaldson hoping for fairy tale comeback

Euro Tour

In contention at Scottish Open, Jamie Donaldson hoping for fairy tale comeback

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NORTH BERWICK, Scotland – Jamie Donaldson had no Plan B when he was sitting at home nursing a wrist injury that threatened to end his career. He was just hoping.

Hoping for a week like he’s having in the $7 million Aberdeen Standard Investment Scottish Open. The 43-year-old has made just one bogey in 54 holes. A third-round, 6-under 65 has put him in joint fifth place, just five shots off Bernd Wiesberger’s lead heading into the final round

Not bad for a guy playing just his seventh event since last October who had no idea of what he was going to do with his life if he couldn’t play golf again.

“I was just hoping I wasn’t done,” he admitted. “I had no Plan B. I just wanted to keep going.”

The Welshman arrived in Scotland on the back of four missed cuts. The obvious question: did he envisage contending for victory after so much time off with such a serious injury?

“You hope, don’t you?” Donaldson said. “You don’t know when you’re off injured when you go out and try to hit balls and you can’t hit any shots. You’re so far off where I am now. But you’ve just got to be patient. I waited seven months to come back and play.”

Donaldson crammed a career into two years between 2012 and 2014. His first victory came in the 2012 Irish Open at Royal Portrush. Winning the 2014 D+D Real Czech Masters paved his way to a spot on the European Ryder Cup team at Gleneagles. He left a hero after securing the winning point with a 4&3 singles victory over Keegan Bradley.

Donaldson’s career has been a free fall ever since thanks mainly because of back and wrist injuries. He only started playing again in March this year, testing out his game on a British mini circuit called the 1836 Tour.

“I played five of them and won one. The golf wasn’t great but it was all right. You’ve still got to play really well to win them. Sometimes you feel as if you should win them all, but the place where I’ve been with operation I was just happy to be back competing.”

He picked up $1,110 in pocket money for his mini-tour victory. First place this week is $1.3 million. If he doesn’t quite pull off the victory, then a place in the Open Championship is up for grabs. Donaldson can get back to the scene of his first win if he finishes inside the top 10 to take one of the three spots available to players inside the top 10 not exempt for the championship.

“I’ll be keeping an eye on the leaderboard because I really want that Open spot but winning is more important. That’s the primary goal.”

It would cap a fairy-tale comeback.

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