Luke Donald (Getty Images)
Luke Donald is targeting a BMW double in Shanghai as the Englishman launches a late bid to prevent Rory McIlroy claiming his Race to Dubai title.
Donald has already seen his Ryder Cup teammate snatch the World Number One spot and US PGA Tour money list title from him this year, but although he is currently ten places below McIlroy the sizeable prize fund at this week’s BMW Masters gives Donald a chance to close to within €300,000.
Having retained his BMW PGA Championship title at Wentworth in May, Donald is keen to re-enter the winner’s circle at Lake Malaren after a six-month drought.
“The Race to Dubai is what we are left with this year to play for,” said Donald. “This week and next week are very important events, and great prize money to try and close the gap on Rory.
“It's great to be at this event - my first time here and enjoying the course, enjoying the set-up. BMW always put on a great show. They run great tournaments, and obviously had some success back in May and hopefully some more success this week.
“Rory has definitely got to Number One this year, and he's been playing the best golf of anyone. He's wrapped up the Money List on the US Tour already, and he's trying to do what I did last year and win both money titles, and he's in a great position to do that.
“I can't really control what he's doing; I've just got to play my own game and continue to work hard. These next two weeks are important, if I can grab a win or two, it's going to go a long way. These are big money events, and you can catch up quickly.
“Obviously McIlroy won here last year. He has the experience of playing well around this course.
“I think looking at the course, there are some holes where it helps to carry the ball far off the tee. The greens are tough in terms of a lot of slope and borrow and sectioned off; so coming in with less club is going to be an advantage on certain holes.
“I'm not sure whether Rory just played well here and won or he enjoys the course. Sometimes you can go to a course and feel very comfortable, and obviously he won here last year, so I guess I would put him at the top of the list.“
Donald has not played for three weeks, but had some familiar faces to catch up with on the practice range.
His last outing was The Ryder Cup at Medinah, where he crucially beat Bubba Watson in the top singles game to get the ball rolling for Europe, and 11 of that victorious side, as well as Captain José María Olazábal, are present this week.
“It's been great to see the guys,” added Donald. “I had three weeks off after The Ryder Cup, much needed, a little bit of rest to get over all the excitement.
“It was good to see the guys and reminisce about some of the stories and the memories, and obviously seeing some of the guys that didn't make the team congratulating us, I kind of missed out by not playing the last three weeks on all that talk.
“But the three weeks were very necessary for me. I felt pretty wiped out. It's been a long season, especially with the FedEx and then The Ryder Cup. I got some good rest, got some good practice in, and ready to try to finish off the year with a bang.”