The Open: Return to form gives Luke Donald hope for St Andrews

LUKE DONALD believes he is close to the form which saw him become world No 1 and the first player to top the money lists on both sides of the Atlantic in the same season.
Luke Donald.Luke Donald.
Luke Donald.

Donald first reached the top of the rankings in 2011, winning four tournaments worldwide including the BMW PGA Championship and WGC-Accenture Match Play.

The 37-year-old has struggled to replicate such form recently and changed coaches at the end of 2013, but worked with Chuck Cook for less than a year before returning to Pat Goss.

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That decision has paid dividends with Donald halting his slide down the rankings and shooting eight consecutive rounds in the 60s, enough to qualify for the Open at the Travelers Championship and finish joint seventh in the Scottish Open on Sunday.

“The form feels like it’s really coming back,” said Donald. “I am getting a lot more consistency in my game which is something I’ve been lacking over the last year or so. I am excited about my game and I feel like when the putter really clicks I am going to be up there challenging for tournament wins.

“It hasn’t been bad and I am starting to hole a few more, but it’s not quite up to my 2011 statistics yet - or Jordan Spieth stats!

“I haven’t been out of the 60s in the last eight competitive rounds and that’s the consistency that I want. That’s breeding a lot of confidence and belief that what I am doing is the right stuff.

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“I am excited about my form and going into next week. I feel mentally and physically in a good spot.”

Donald finished 11th the last time the Open was staged at St Andrews in 2010, memorably being paired with Jack Nicklaus as the 18-time major winner made his farewell appearance in the event.

And the former Ryder Cup star would love nothing more than to be in contention on Sunday and replicate his feat of five years ago, when he finished his final round with a birdie on the Road Hole and followed it with an eagle on the 18th.

“The 18th was straight down wind and I knocked it on the green and made a 20-footer,” added Donald, who is not one of the longer hitters in the game.

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“I was actually looking up where I finished this morning and then I remembered how I finished, three, two on Sunday. Five shots on the last two holes to move to 11th which obviously put a smile on my face.

“St Andrews is unquestionably the most exciting Open, just the buzz around the town, the atmosphere of St Andrews, the history it has.

“If you ask any professional if they could win one Open where would it be, it would be at St Andrews just because of the history and everything that’s gone on there.”