Rolex Series

Luke Donald reveals Hero Cup inspiration after stunning 64 at Yas Links

Luke Donald revealed he took inspiration from some impressive performances at last week's Hero Cup after making a stunning start to his 2023 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship campaign on Thursday.

The 45-year-old produced late fireworks in his first-round 64 at Yas Links Abu Dhabi, finishing with four successive birdies to set the early clubhouse target at eight under par.

The European Ryder Cup Captain started from the tenth tee in the morning and made nine birdies in all, with his only blemish coming at the third.

Donald spent last week at Abu Dhabi Golf Club watching players from across Europe do battle in a new team match play contest, with Continental Europe eventually overcoming Great Britain & Ireland to win the inaugural Hero Cup after four competitive sessions.

And the Englishman feels his heroics at the opening Rolex Series event of the season on Thursday were inspired by last week's tournament.

He said: "I think you're going to hit a lot of greens out here because you're going to hit a lot of fairways too.

"I putted very nicely today other than one three-putt on the third hole for my only bogey.

"I made a lot of good putts. I made a couple of long ones, but just was very tidy. I think maybe a little inspired by watching some good golf from last week."

Despite having other things to think about this year, with the Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club just over eight months away, Donald feels his game is in a good place and he was not surprised by his sensational start to the week.

He added: "I actually came into this year with higher expectations than I've had in a while, just for my own game.

"You know when you're swinging reasonably well.

"I feel like I've done some good work on my long game with Jamie Gough, and I've done some good work with my short game with Pat Goss. And to be honest, I feel like my game is in a pretty good spot.

"It's not totally surprising that I shot 64 today. The last couple of days I've been hitting it nicely, swinging well, and it was nice to carry that on today."

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