The conditions at The Harbour Town Golf Links played right into Luke Donald’s hands on Saturday afternoon. With his impeccable wedge game, the soft greens were a sitting duck for the 36 year-old transplanted Brit during the third round of the RBC Heritage. Donald fired a -5 under par 66 and was able to show off some of the new power he’s been developing with an eagle three at the par five second hole.
It’s been two years since Donald has tasted victory, and with four top three finishes since 2009 at Harbour Town, he’s done everything but win. He lost in a playoff to Brandt Snedeker in 2011, and his last win on tour was the 2012 Transitions Championship where he beat Sang Moon Bae, Jim Furyk, and Robert Garrigus in a playoff. He had a win on the European Tour in 2012 at The BMW PGA Championship where he beat out Paul Lawrie, and Justin Rose.
“I think as players you always get a little anxious if it’s been a little bit of time between wins, especially coming from me,” said the former world No. 1. “Taking nothing away from Pat (Goss), who took me all the way to No. 1 I just felt like at times under pressure, and especially in majors where the course setup is more extreme, I wanted to be able to get the ball in play a little bit more, hit fairways, hit greens when I needed to.”
Luke Donald has always had everything one could ask for in a golf game except for length off the tee, and decided to change swing coaches in order to add some length. It’s taken him a while to get the hang of it, but it looks to be starting to pay off. He missed the cut last week at the Masters, but had nice finishes at the Honda Classic where he ended T 8, and a T 4 at The Valspar Championship in Tampa.
He has made six of seven cuts in 2014, is ranked 29th in the world rankings, and 71st in the FedEx Cup. A win at Harbour Town on Sunday would go a long way in easing the pain of the two-year drought.
Donald will take a two-shot lead over John Huh when they take to the first tee in the Sunday finale’ and has a host of pursuers three back at -5 under par, including some major champions. 2011 Masters Champ, Charl Schwartzel, who didn’t make the trip to Malaysia this year, and 2003 US Open Champ, Jim Furyk.
With a $5.8 Million Dollar purse, and 500 Fed Ex Cup points up for grabs today, the finish at the iconic 18th hole should be exciting. The 441 yard par four played the toughest on Saturday. Playing into a head-wind, only two birdies were made there all day compared to 52 pars, 19 bogeys, and five doubles, or worse, and played to a 4.36 stroke average.
The 192 yard par three 14th hole has played the hardest all week .