Donald, Kaymer, Jimenez through
Only a week after one of the worst rounds of his life, Luke Donald has given himself a chance of a first US win in five years.
Only a week after one of the worst rounds of his career, Luke Donald has given himself a great chance to end five years without a win in America – and with it, go to world number three.
Donald, who last week missed the halfway cut in Los Angeles after a second round 79, on Saturday will take on American Ryan Moore for a place in the semi-finals of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship at the Ritz Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain in Arizona.
This because the English Ryder Cup star, yet to be behind in any game this week, was able to follow wins over Charley Hoffman and Edoardo Molinari with a 3&2 victory over 17-year-old giant-killer Matteo Manassero on Friday
“Last week was my first week back for 11 weeks,” said Donald, who was hoping to play twice today after a bad weather forecast – wind, rain and possibly even snow – prompted officials to bring forward the semi-finals from Sunday morning.
“I’d worked hard on my game a month prior to that, but it’s not the same as competing.
“I’ve been trying to work on a few things in my swing and I think I got caught a little bit in between some of my old swing thoughts and some of the new ones.
“But now I’m feeling good. I’ve still got three rounds to go hopefully, so as much as you can conserve your energy and not overwork yourself physically or mentally you’re ahead of the game.”
Donald did lift a title in Madrid last year and he was one of the joint top-scorers in Europe’s Ryder Cup win at Celtic Manor with three points out of four.
But many Americans consider him something of an under-achiever, one writer even coining the phrase ‘Luke Donald Disease’ for any British player making a ton of money without winning.
That upset the 33-year-old and now he has an opportunity to lift one of the biggest trophies going outside of the majors – and, of course, follow up compatriot Ian Poulter’s victory last year.
Not that he is carrying European hopes on his own.
German Martin Kaymer, who needs to reach the final to take the world number one spot off Lee Westwood, faces 47-year-old Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez in another of the quarter-finals.
Jimenez demolished Ben Crane 8&6 the day after the American had beaten Rory McIlroy 8&7, while ice cool Kaymer came from two down after 12 holes with four straight birdies to defeat a clearly shaken Hunter Mahan on the 17th.
McDowell was disappointed not to be joining them in the last eight, losing 3&2 to Korean YE Yang, but he will now be either third or fourth in the world depending on how Donald progresses.
Next up for Yang is Matt Kuchar, while two of America’s biggest hitters, Bubba Watson and JB Holmes – called into the event on Tuesday as replacement for the injured Tim Clark – clash in the other match.
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