Kiawah Island, South Carolina: Luke Donald’s quest to end a title drought in the majors was poised to fall well short once again as he struggled to a four-over-par 76 in Friday’s second round of the PGA Championship.
The British world number one had high hopes coming into the week with a new strategy to put himself under less self-imposed pressure, but flirted with missing the cut before narrowly making it right on the number at six-over 150.
Strong, swirling winds at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course posed all sorts of problems for the players on the longest layout to stage a major championship and Donald lost further ground with five bogeys, one double-bogey and three birdies.
“It’s just one of those weeks. I actually played decently this week and got nothing out of it,” the 34-year-old Englishman told reporters.
“The course changed quite a bit today and you had to adapt. Certainly it didn’t play anything like the practice days.
“I was talking with my caddie on the range if I would have rather had two-iron in (the bag) to hit it (the ball) a little bit lower. I was thinking about putting that in and didn’t. We should have.”
Donald’s woes were summed up by his performance at the tricky par-three 17th, which he double-bogeyed in the opening round and bogeyed on Friday.
“Yeah, two tee shots I thought I hit pretty well,” he said. “Yesterday, it was a hard right-to-left wind, and the ball hung out there and hit on the edge of the green, rolled into the water.
“Today I hit my line, hit where I wanted to. It just rolled into the bunker. I hit a pretty good shot and just missed the putt.”
Donald, who became the first player to top the money lists on both the European and US PGA tours last year, missed the cut at the US Open in June but felt he had learned from the experience.
“It was an important lesson for me at the US Open, the fact that I picked up I was getting so anxious and pressing too hard and wanting to be successful,” said the Englishman, who went on to tie for fifth at last month’s British Open.
“After that week of failing and kind of realising that a lot of the mindset I had going into that week was a part of the failure, that’s really helped me.
“No matter how I’m hitting it physically, there’s always a way to mentally be on top; have that control of how I want to feel come Thursday; how I want to approach the tournament with the correct mindset.”