Monday 22 January 2018

Luke Donald storms into the lead at the RBC Heritage

Luke Donald tees off on No. 9 during the second round of the RBC Heritage golf tournament
Luke Donald tees off on No. 9 during the second round of the RBC Heritage golf tournament

Luke Donald will take a two-shot lead into the final day of the RBC Heritage after an excellent five-under-par 66 on Saturday.

The Englishman will be feeling hopeful of breaking his duck at Hilton Head, having twice recorded second- and third-place finishes in recent years, following his exploits in the third round, which was delayed to allow some competitors to finish their second round after heavy rain forced play to be suspended on Friday.

Donald's fortunes were a little mixed on the opening nine holes in overcast and blustery conditions, but four birdies after the turn took him two shots clear of closest challenger John Huh.

"I felt really comfortable out there. I just felt like I was going to play well and obviously I did," Donald told Sky Sports 4.

"I've always liked this golf course. I'm really happy with the way I'm striking the ball, I felt like I was going to give myself a lot of chances.

"I've played extremely well today and hopefully (it will be) more of the same tomorrow. I think we're in for a very windy day tomorrow so I'll need to control the ball even better."

The 36-year-old former world number one made an early move with an eagle but he gave a shot back on four before making two birdies and as many bogeys in his next four holes.

His charge was re-ignited with birdies at the 10th and 11th, while he picked up further shots at the 14th and 17th, and was unlucky on the par-four final hole when his second shot bounced inches away from the flag before rolling off the green as he settled for par.

It was nevertheless enough to keep him on eight under par overall, with Huh his nearest threat after a round of 68.

The American had missed the cut in three of his last four starts and although he has found the Harbour Town Golf Links course to his liking, Huh insists he has been happy with his recent performances.

"I've been playing really good. I just wasn't able to put everything together. I think this is the week that I've put everything together," he said.

Former major winners Charl Schwartzl and Jim Furyk, and Nicholas Thompson and Ben Martin are on five under overall after varying fortunes on Saturday, while Scotland's Russell Knox is among five players a shot further back.

English amateur Matt Fitzpatrick, who missed the cut at the Masters by a single stroke last week, was two under for the tournament after a flawless 69 which featured birdies at five and 10, while defending champion Graeme McDowell is seven shots behind Donald after his third-round 72.

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