Luke Donald (Getty Images)
Luke Donald is looking forward to a “great challenge” at this week’s Alstom Open de France as the Englishman aims to put his US Open Championship disappointment behind him.
Donald went into the final round at Merion two off the lead but after a difficult start finished five shots behind compatriot Justin Rose in a tie for eighth.
Now the 35 year old is looking to maintain the form that put him in contention for a first Major at Le Golf National, which will host the 2018 Ryder Cup.
“I've been working hard the last week and excited to be here,” said Donald. “I just played nine holes yesterday and do really enjoy this golf course - I think it's a great challenge.
“You have to be on top of your game to win this week. I like the fact that it's already pretty firm and fast, and we got a little bit of rain today and last night. The course is in great shape.”
While former World Number One Donald was unable to end his wait for a first Major at Merion, he was able to take plenty of positives from the week.
Rose’s victory ended a 17-year wait for an English Major Champion, and Donald now hopes the floodgates can open as they did for Irish golfers following Padraig Harrington’s three Major wins.
“You always walk away disappointed when you have a chance, but at the same time, I left with a lot of encouragement,” he added. “I think similar to sort of Adam [Scott] in The Open last year - I wasn't leading with four holes to play, but it's the first time I put myself in a position at the US Open to contend.
“There were certainly a lot of benefits, and I think just seeing Adam win at Augusta, seeing Justin win at the US Open, guys that have similar career path to me in terms of winning a World Golf Championships or two and winning a bunch of tournaments on their résumé.
“I think it gives me certainly hope that hopefully my turn is coming soon. I think I'm starting to put myself in better positions.
“I've played a lot of golf with Justin, from when he was 14 to now, and seeing the highs and lows that he's gone through - I respect Justin because he works hard at his game. He's diligent and he puts a lot of effort in, and it was good to see him win."