Donald draws first blood

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Luke Donald has drawn first blood in this week’s World ranking battle with fellow Englishman Lee Westwood.

Luke Donald has drawn first blood in this week’s World ranking battle with fellow Englishman Lee Westwood.

As the morning field started moving through the halfway point of the first round at the European Tour’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in Surrey, Donald was sitting in a tie for first with Colin Montgomerie at five under.

The World No 2 had played 10 holes and Montgomerie 11.

Westwood, meanwhile, was struggling in joint 21st place at 1-over after nine holes, having negated birdies at the 4th and the 9th holes with a bogey at the 3rd and an ugly double bogey at the par 4 par 6th.

Donald, at this stage had played flawless golf and was looking a big threat to Westwood’s premier ranking, the super-consistent World No 2 giving nothing away as he picked up shots the 4th 6th, 7th 9th and 10th holes.

Monty, currently 462nd on the World Rankings list and without a win in almost three years now, put himself to the fore alongside Donald with birdies at the 1st, 3rd, 4th,5th and 8th holes.

The Scottish veteran used to talk of the importance of being “one up” on the first tee when he was winning his three successive PGA victories as well the World Match Play title at Wentworth nearly a decade ago and the fact that his was one of only three birdies secured at the 473 yard opening hole into the wind in the first three hours of play today (Thursday) might well have had something to do with his sizzling start.

The other two first-hole birdies were posted by Sunday’s European Tour winner, Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland, and big-hitting Alvaro Quiros of Spain.

Quiros and Clarke were tied in 5th place at 2-under coming into the turn with England Ross McGowan, after 11 holes, and Italy’s precocious teenager Matteo Mannassero, after eight, tied for 3rd at 3-under

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