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After a win at last week’s Scottish Open, which was highlighted by a dazzling final-round 63, Luke Donald is primed for a victory this week at the British Open. The Englishman has more momentum heading into this week than any other player in the field, even the boyish US Open hero Rory McIlroy.
When Donald tees it up Thursday, he will be playing in the comfort of his backyard. Born and raised in England, Donald understands the distinctive links style and challenge, which is partially what gave him a leg up in his victory in Scotland, as well as in his luminous history at the Open Championship, where he’s finished fifth and 11th over the last two years.
In addition to the sense of ease he will feel amidst the stormy, English conditions, Donald is brimming with a confidence unlike anything he’s ever had in his career.
It’s not hubris. It’s conviction.
In just the first half of this season Donald has been catapulted to the forefront of the golfing world with three prodigious worldwide victories; first at the WGC-Accenture Match Play, in which he beat out the World’s No.1 Ranked Player Martin Kaymer, second at the BMW PGA Championship in a playoff over his stalwart countrymen Lee Westwood that launched him to No.1 in the Official World Golf Rankings, and then again this past Sunday at the Scottish Open with a bogey free, 9-under-par final round.
On the PGA Tour this season, he’s ripping through the competition statistically. He’s competed in ten events, made nine cuts, and finished in the top-10 eight times. The statistical thrashing continues. He’s ranked fourth in Putting, fourth in Birdie Average, third in Scoring Average, and first in Top-10 finishes (8).
Donald recognized the inhibiting elements of his game last season and has clearly made the necessary adjustments to become a competitive threat. In 2010, Donald ranked 120th in Driving Accuracy and 152nd in Greens in Regulation.
So far this season: 30th in Driving Accuracy and 55th in Greens in Regulation. There’s no doubt these improvements are paying off and this week will be about compiling all of the energy, determination, passion, and pride into four phenomenal rounds of golf.