Donald hits hot streak

Luke Donald shot a sparkling eight-under-par 64 to take the lead on the first day of the Memorial tournament.

Luke Donald shot a sparkling eight-under-par 64 on the first day of the Memorial tournament in Dublin, Ohio to take a three-shot lead.

The US-based Briton started his round with a bogey at the first but an exhilarating run of six birdies in seven holes on the back nine propelled him up the leaderboard and put him three shots ahead of Americans Jim Furyk and Ted Purdy, Australian youngster Jason Day and Thomas Aiken, a leading member of the South African Sunshine Tour, but little known outside of his own country.

What started out for Donald as just another day at Muirfield Village turned into something amazing when he nailed a 12-foot birdie putt from the fringe on the par-3 eighth for the first of his string of six consecutive birdies.

Indeed, he one-putted nine straight holes until a par on the 18th hole brought him back to earth, but also left him with a score that matched the lowest opening round at the Memorial Tournament.

“That doesn’t happen very often,” Donald said with a wry smile.

But then nor does Tiger Woods struggling to make his putts.

Woods, playing with a higher loft on his driver (10 degrees) is driving better all the time and didn’t miss a fairway until he played his 3-wood on the 18th and saw it hit a tree and fall into a bunker.

But for once he couldn’t always get his putter to work. He missed an 8-foot par putt on the final hole, and his other bogey came after three putts at the 13th.

He was not too upset, however, with the 69, that put the four-time Memorial champion into a eight-man tie for ninth that included Canadian Mike Weir.

“Everything felt pretty good to some degree,” he said with clear satisfaction.

“My swing felt good. Even my putting stroke felt good. A couple of bad pitches here and there, but overall, I felt like I controlled the ball well all day. With the wind blowing like this, you have to hit it flush. I did that all day. I didn’t miss any shots.”

Donald’s score, in the meantime, was his lowest of the season and, having picked up shots at 10, 11, 12, 13, 15 and 16, he said: “I just got on a hot streak.

“Eight under through nine holes. That doesn’t happen very often but when you get on that roll, it feels pretty good. So I just kept going and made some birdies.”

Open champion Padraig Harrington was not in such good form, however, shooting a three-over 75, as did Vijay Singh and and Ian Poulter.

Defending champion Kenny Perry would hardly have been happy either with a level-par 72 that has left him trailing by eight shots.

(USA unless stated, par 72):

64 Luke Donald (Eng)
67 Thomas Aiken (RSA), Jim Furyk, Ted Purdy, Jason Day (Aus)
68 Steve Marino, Stewart Cink, Mark Wilson
69 Tiger Woods, Rodney Pampling (Aus), Kevin Sutherland, Mike Weir (Can), Reinier Saxton (Ned), Johnson Wagner, Troy Matteson, Jonathan Byrd, Nicholas Thompson
70 Will MacKenzie, Steve Stricker, Ernie Els (RSA), Ryuji Imada (Jpn)
71 Charley Hoffman, Zach Johnson, John Senden (Aus), Tom Lehman, Ben Curtis, Bubba Watson, Martin Kaymer (Ger), David Duval, Matt Bettencourt, Tom Pernice Jnr., Chez Reavie, Kevin Na, Camilo Villegas (Col)
72 Michael Letzig, Jerry Kelly, Charl Schwartzel (RSA), Erik Compton, Davis Love III, Lee Janzen, Geoff Ogilvy (Aus), Kenny Perry, Daniel Chopra (Swe), Robert Allenby (Aus), Mark Calcavecchia, Marc Turnesa, Stuart Appleby (Aus)
73 Nick Watney, Bart Bryant, Todd Hamilton, James Nitties (Aus), Nick O’Hern (Aus), Webb Simpson, Shaun Micheel, Y.E. Yang (Kor), Chris DiMarco, Steve Flesch, Matt Kuchar, Alex Cejka (Ger), Paul Casey (Eng), Dustin Johnson, Mathew Goggin (Aus), K J Choi (Kor), Rocco Mediate, Carl Pettersson (Swe), D.J. Trahan
74 Scott McCarron, Billy Mayfair, Greg Owen (Eng), Jose-Maria Olazabal (Spa), Hunter Mahan, Brett Quigley, Bill Haas, Marc Leishman (Aus), Richard Sterne (RSA)
75 Tim Herron, Mark Brooks, Lucas Glover, Jeff Quinney, Woody Austin, John Mallinger, Charles Howell III, D.A. Points, Vijay Singh (Fij), Ian Poulter (Eng), Padraig Harrington (Irl), Ryan Moore
76 Jeff Overton, Steve Lowery, Jeff Klauk, Billy Andrade, Richard S Johnson (Swe), George McNeill, Sean O’Hair, Tim Petrovic, Ken Duke
77 Charles Warren, Chris Stroud, Adam Scott (Aus), Jason Dufner, James Driscoll, Kevin Streelman, Peter Lonard (Aus), Fredrik Jacobson (Swe), James Kamte (RSA)
78 Brian Davis (Eng)
79 Chris Wilson, Danny Lee (Nzl), Aaron Baddeley (Aus), Scott Piercy, Cliff Kresge
80 John Rollins, Justin Rose (Eng), Ryan Palmer
81 Bo Van Pelt, Parker McLachlin, Jesper Parnevik (Swe)
82 J.B. Holmes
83 Brad Faxon
86 Kevin Chappell