Donald amongst leading group in Akron

02/08/2012 19:24:29
Luke Donald  (Getty Images)
Luke Donald (Getty Images)
Luke Donald began the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational with a four under par 66 to take a share of the early clubhouse lead.

The World Number One from England carded seven birdies and three bogeys around Firestone to sit level with Americans Ben Crane and Bubba Watson at the top of the leaderboard.

Starting on the back nine, Race to Dubai champion Donald set off with a hattrick of gains, only for that early momentum to stall with dropped shots at the 13th and 18th.

The 34 year old then had further gains at the second, fourth and sixth, before putting his tee shot within 20 feet at the short seventh and holing for another birdie.

He missed a ten footer for par at the next, but did well to rescue par at the ninth having found the greenside bunker in two.

“The course was in great shape,” he said. “It's always in great shape, this place. I got off to a great start, but gave a few bogeys back with a few poor drives. 

“That's the only thing really I needed to work on after today's media session. But I had the pace and the line on the greens really well, I made a bunch of putts today, and that was obviously another key to a solid round.”

Masters Tournament champion Watson had five birdies, an eagle at the long second and three bogeys in his round, while compatriot Crane had six birdies and only two dropped shots.

They were one ahead of a group that included Spain’s Sergio Garcia, South African Retief Goosen, Swede Carl Pettersson and US PGA Champion Keegan Bradley.

Out on the course a trio of European Tour Members were leading the late starters – England’s Simon Dyson, Spaniard Rafael Cabrera-Bello and South African Louis Oosthuizen all moving to three under on the front nine.

Cabrera Bello joined the leaders with a birdie on the second and when the Omega Dubai Desert Classic winner holed a 12 footer at the next he took the outright lead on five under.

Dyson also birdied the second and third, as he and Australian John Senden joined the group on four under, with Oosthuizen, England’s Lee Slattery and German Martin Kaymer all three under with holes left to play.

Cabrera Bello joined the leaders with a birdie on the second and when the Omega Dubai Desert Classic winner holed a 12 footer at the next he took the outright lead on five under.

Dyson also birdied the second and third, as he and Australian John Senden joined the group on four under, with Oosthuizen, England’s Lee Slattery and German Martin Kaymer all three under with holes left to play.

Six-time European Tour winner Dyson holed a 40 footer at the fourth and that meant not only three birdies in a row, but a share of the lead with Cabrera Bello as well.