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Fully fit Jamie Donaldson raring to go in Newport

Fully fit Jamie Donaldson raring to go in Newport

Jamie Donaldson declared himself fully fit as he prepares for a home European Tour event as the fourth leg of the six week UK Swing heads to Wales for the 2020 Celtic Classic.

Jamie Donaldson

The 44-year-old has shone since the return of competitive action following the four month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, posting successive top 15 finishes at the Hero Open and English Championship.

The next two events of the European Tour will be held at The Celtic Manor Resort and the man who claimed the winning point in Europe’s Ryder Cup victory at Gleneagles in 2014 is hoping familiar surroundings can further improve his recent performances.

"I love coming back down here," Donaldson said. "It’s a great venue and the course is looking really good, and the sun is shining. I do love playing here, normally you get great crowds, which is a shame, given the current circumstances that won’t be happening. It’s a special place, beautiful setting and beautiful weather.

"It’s been different playing without crowds, but the way I’ve been playing recently there hasn’t been that many watching. Obviously you want to be playing in front of crowds, and at British events, especially this week, there’s always great support for the players. It is a shame, but that’ll soon change and I’m sure they’ll be let back in soon."

Donaldson struggled before global health crisis, making only one cut in his five events but the Welshman believes he is fully fit and ready to hit top form after wrist problems blighted his career in recent years.

"I’ve been playing nicely," he added. "After the wrist operation things take time and I’ve been working hard to get that right. I’m fit as a fiddle. Sometimes things take longer than you think they would. I came back last year but never really felt 100 per cent. But now I feel fit, ready to go and look forward to playing next week.

"That round last week (seven under par 64 on Friday) wasn’t one of my better playing days, it was one of my better scoring days – I was very happy to do that. When you’re not quite on it but shooting low scores it’s great. The course was set up for low scores - I played my best golf on Saturday and only shot a couple under – you have to convert when you’re playing decent. It's all about the putting at the end of the day.

"This is more of a ball-strikers golf course this week, it’ll help the longer hitter. It’s good that I can shoot low scores like that still. I’ve been playing well in practice, things are starting to come together.

You want to play in Majors and play at the highest level. I’ve played quite a few now and that’s where you want to be playing, against the best players

"I played the course yesterday. We’ve played here so many times, you remember where you need to go quickly, just from playing a few holes. For me, it’s like playing in your own back garden. I’ll go through the bag, do some exercise this afternoon and save some energy for tomorrow."

Donaldson has not featured in a Major since 2016 but he is hoping to climb into the top 10 of the UK Swing Order of Merit, so he can compete at the 2020 U.S. Open Championship at Winged Foot in September.

"I need a few good finishes and I might just do that (qualify for the U.S. Open). That would be massive. You want to play in Majors and play at the highest level. I’ve played quite a few now and that’s where you want to be playing, against the best players.

"It doesn’t matter the level of tournament you’re playing in, the standard is always high. I played in a lot of mini Tour events back home and even then you still need to shoot seven or eight under to win. It doesn’t matter the standard, you have to play your best golf at any level.

"But to play in Majors and World events is the best, of course."

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