In the first of our previews for next week’s US Open Championship, Luke Donald looks ahead to the second Major of the season…
World Number One Luke Donald believes his victory at the recent BMW PGA Championship was the perfect preparation for next week’s US Open Championship.
A fortnight ago, Donald held off the challenge of his friend and fellow Englishman Justin Rose to successfully defend The European Tour’s flagship title over the West Course at Wentworth Club, where the conditions were similar to those he expects to experience at the second Major of the season, held at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, America.
With the 7,170 yards, par 70 Lake Course renowned for its firm fairways, slick greens and penal rough, Donald’s unerring accuracy and deadly putting should stand him in good stead as he bids to secure an elusive first Major title.
Donald, whose highest finish at the US Open Championship was tied 12th in 2006, said: “Pars win US Opens, that’s the phrase, and I suppose that’s usually a strength of mine. I think I’m going to have to play pretty solidly off the tee, which in the past has perhaps been a slight weakness.
“But over the last couple years that’s really improved a lot, which is why I was really happy with myself on the final day of the BMW PGA Championship. There are some quite tough tee shots coming down the stretch at Wentworth, and I hit a lot of good, solid shots. That’ll be a key for me at the US Open.”
Donald has never teed up at the Olympic Club before, but the 34 year old believes the winning score is unlikely to be as low as last year, when Rory McIlroy – the man closest to him in the Official World Golf Ranking – romped to the title by eight shots on 16 under par.
He said: “What Rory did last year was pretty special – but outside Rory’s score, it wasn’t too far off a regular US Open. Obviously the weather had an effect on the score because the course was playing soft, and he had one of those weeks where everything was going great.
“I’m sure the USGA don’t want something that low, but I’m not sure if they’ll go too far the other way either. I just think they’ll make the set-up tough like usual.
“I saw a little bit of the US Open preview on The Golf Channel last night, just to get a feel for what the course is like, and it looked pretty tough. The rough is really long, and the greens looked quite slopey. So it’s going to be very tough, but I’m really looking forward to it and hopefully I can have a great week.”