Tuesday, 17 July 2012
Luke Donald  (Getty Images)
Luke Donald (Getty Images)
World Number One Luke Donald hopes 16 is his lucky number as he seeks to channel the spirit of Seve Ballesteros and claim a first Major title in The 141st Open Championship.

The last 15 Majors have been won by as many different players and the likes of Donald, Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia will be among those hoping that trend continues at Royal Lytham.

Donald missed the cut at the recent US Open and also has a disappointing Open Championship record, with just one top ten finish - at Turnberry in 2009 - in 11 appearances, but finished 16th in the defence of his Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open title at Castle Stuart last week.

"I feel like I did a lot of good work in the last two weeks," Donald said.

"And I felt quite comfortable in the competition last week at the Scottish Open. I hit a lot of very solid tee shots, and that's exactly what you need to do around here.

"I do like this course. I think it's set up great. It's very fair, but it's very tough. It's certainly going to produce the guy who plays the best because there's no escaping some holes; you've just got to step up there and hit good tee shots.

"You aren't going to find lucky lies in the rough. You're not going to be able to get to the greens from the bunkers. It's about hitting fairways, hitting greens, and hopefully I can do that."

Having said that, Donald acknowledges accuracy from tee to green is not his greatest strength - he is ranked 119th in greens in regulation on the US PGA Tour in 2012 - but that he can also take encouragement from the late Ballesteros.

Ballesteros won The Open twice at Lytham despite some famously wild tee shots, including one on the 16th during his victory in 1979 which ended up in a temporary car park.

"I think that should give me some heart, that I've not always been known as the guy who hits it consistently tee-to-green, but I have a great short game," Donald added.

"I have great skills to get the ball in the hole no matter how I'm playing, and I think that's what won Seve The Open Championship in '88.

"Seve was known as someone that would hit it wild off the tee and use his short game to get out of trouble. No matter where he was, he felt like he could hole a shot.

"I've got to go into this tournament with that kind of fun attitude, that no matter how I'm hitting it, there's always a way to make a score."

Donald admits that "fun attitude" is something he is working hard to cultivate, particularly when it comes to getting off to a good start in Major Championships.

The 34 year old has not broken 70 in the first round of a Major since the US PGA Championship in 2006, while rounds of 71 and 75 saw him miss the cut in The Open at Royal St George's 12 months ago.

"I think the remedy has to come from me," said Donald.

"It's taken a bit of time for that thought to drop, because I just have been getting a little bit too uptight and anxious.

"It's a very normal mode to switch into because the pressure is that much more, you want it that much more. For me, it's about controlling it and predetermining how I want to feel and trying to stick to that.

"It's going to be tough. There will be times when I get uptight, but then I've just got to kind of remember where I am and how I want to feel over each shot."

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