Donald optimistic about Merion chances

6/11/2013 3:56:00 PM
 Luke Donald  (Getty Images)
Luke Donald (Getty Images)
Luke Donald has never managed a top-ten finish in the US Open Championship, but the former World Number One believes that could change at Merion this week.

Donald's best finish in the year's second Major Championship is a tie for 12th at Winged Foot in 2006, while he has missed the cut in two of the last four years.

However, with Merion's East Course measuring just 6,996 yards and Donald likely to only use his driver five times per round, the Chicago-based Englishman feels that plays to his strengths.

"Usually success in the US Open comes from hitting fairways and greens, but my game is really (best) from the green backwards," Donald said.

"This year I have made a conscious effort to change that to get a little bit more control, to work some things around, spending a little bit more time on the range working on really solidifying a few things.

"It hasn't happened yet, but statistics will show I've improved in those areas and I'll be starting to hit more greens, having more control of my ball flight. And that's what you need out here to be successful.

"I would like to have seen it firmer. I think wetter, damper conditions bring more of the field in play. But certainly a course where I'm only hitting five drivers, a course where I'm hitting a lot of wedges, playing to my strengths....I feel like from a hundred yards in I'm pretty good.

"This course demands a lot of good wedge play. Obviously you've still got to do what's pretty important in US Opens, hit fairways, hit greens. That will be a big key for me if I want to be successful."

Despite being the shortest Major course since 2001, Merion still has a number of tough holes with Donald hitting drivers on the fourth, fifth, sixth, 16th and 18th.

Of those holes, only the fourth is a par five (at 628 yards), while the others are par fours and measure 504, 487, 430 and 521 yards respectively.

“It has a lot of tradition, this course, and I'm excited to see what it has to offer,” added Donald.

“It's different than what we're used to seeing; a shorter golf course, a lot of variety. The long holes are very long, the short holes are very short. It gives you a lot of opportunities, but there are a few holes you really have to hold on for - they're very tough, very long and demanding.  

“I want to win a Major Championship just as badly this year as when I was Number One. It's about managing those expectations, managing those feelings and knowing what you have is good enough.”