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Golf
The perfect match for Luke Donald
Despite poor display at Northern Trust Open, Luke Donald feels he can improve on best season starting with Match Play.
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2012 16:10
Donald won the PGA tour money list (pictured) in October before securing the European list in Dubai [GALLO/GETTY]

Luke Donald was not too disheartened by a poor finish to the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club and heads into his WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship title defence in optimistic mood this week.

The British world number one laboured to a seven-over-par 78 in Sunday's final round, enduring an ugly sequence of six consecutive bogeys before finishing in a tie for 56th place.

"I got on a bad run but there were a lot of good shots in those bogeys," Donald said after his first event on the 2012 PGA Tour.

"It's just one of those courses where you can be a little bit off and get on the wrong side of things.

"But I am reasonably positive with the way I am hitting it. Compared to this time last year, I feel like I have more control, I am shaping the ball a little bit better.

"Certainly I would have liked to have played a little bit better at Riviera but I am not too worried about it."

Twelve months ago, Donald missed the cut at Riviera but he then travelled to Marana, Arizona, where he ended a dominant week with victory at the Match Play to trigger the best season of his career.

The Briton took over at the top of the rankings on May 30 and triumphed four times worldwide last year, including twice on the PGA Tour. He also became the first player to clinch the money list titles on both sides of the Atlantic.

Donald's biggest problem last week at Riviera was his putting, but he put that down largely to the poa annua greens
which are a feature of the 'West Coast Swing' on the PGA Tour.

"I feel like I have been putting in the work," the 34-year-old said.

"I always struggle on that type of grass a little bit, just to see the read and get the speed."

Love for Dove Mountain

Donald won the biggest title of his career with a 3&2 victory over Germany's Martin Kaymer in last year's Accenture
Match Play Championship final and is eager to defend his crown.

"I certainly have good feelings going back to Dove Mountain and I love matchplay," the Englishman said.

"I have a pretty good matchplay record but you just never know with that format.

"I just try to be pretty good at not giving too many shots away, too many holes away, keeping the pressure on my opponents and taking it one (match) by one."

"Since becoming number one at Wentworth, I've gone and won a couple more times and I've picked up both money titles"

Luke Donald

Asked whether he had been at all surprised by how much he has achieved in golf over the last 12 months, Donald replied: "Yes and no.

"I have always had that inner belief that I could certainly play as well as I did last year and it's nice to see the hard work paying off but I feel like there is a lot more for me to achieve."

Donald, who is renowned for his superb short game, has taken great pride in becoming world number one despite being ranked among golf's medium-length hitters.
"Obviously I play a little bit of a different game compared to some of the modern-day players but I am able to get it around and create a good score most of the time," he said.

"I am looking forward to hopefully keeping improving."

Donald, who languished in 147th place in the 2011 PGA Tour's driving distance charts with an average drive of 284.1 yards, believes the worst part of being the game's top player is having to deal with greater expectations.

"There is a slight added burden of expectation but I felt like I've dealt with that pretty well so far," he said.

"Since becoming number one at Wentworth, I've gone and won a couple more times and I've picked up both money titles. It has increased my confidence, if anything. It's given me extra belief in myself and I think my golf has shown that."

Source:
Reuters
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