Donald, Westwood hanging on at PGA | Inquirer Sports

Donald, Westwood hanging on at PGA

/ 02:58 PM August 14, 2011

Lee Westwood, of England, hits a shot on the eighth hole during the third round of the PGA Championship golf tournament on Saturday at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Ga (AP Photo).

JOHNS CREEK, Georgia — They’re ranked one and two in the world yet just hanging on at the PGA Championship.

No. 1 Luke Donald and No. 2 Lee Westwood are both level at 1-under par after Saturday’s third round, six strokes behind co-leaders Brendan Steele and Jason Dufner heading into the final round.


The Ryder Cup partners each had chances to make up ground in the year’s final major, but couldn’t make it happen.


Donald had a bogey on the 16th hole, then a disastrous double bogey on No. 18 after putting his approach into the water to turn a special third round into a so-so 68.

Westwood got himself to 3-under on the 10th hole, but had a double bogey on the 14th and finished with a 70.

The English duo hoped to cap stellar seasons at the top with their first major title. But they’ll likely need their own record-setting performances, plus the collapse of about a dozen players ahead of them, to pull it off.

Still, Westwood was hopeful of a Sunday surprise.

“A major championship will be a lot more pressure, but I think 1-under is by no means out of it,” he said.

Both Donald and Westwood known they could’ve been much closer.


Donald, No. 1 for the past 11 weeks, was moving up the leaderboard with back-to-back birdies on the 13th and 14th holes that took him to 4-under. He said he thought he might be able to grab an extra birdie to get to 5-under and possibly take the lead by the end of the day.

Instead, he made bogey on the 16th, then put his approach shot to No. 18 into the water in front of the green and made double bogey. “I am angry,” Donald said. “Had something really good going there, and kind of threw it away.”

Westwood had similar regrets about his putting, missing several opportunities to make a move. “Just hit it great all day and close and made nothing,” he said.

There were mis-reads, mis-hits and good looking putts that didn’t do what Westwood expected. All of it led to squandered opportunities at a major just begging for a big name to take control.

Westwood wasn’t sure how to fix things. “Different religion, maybe?” he joked.

Then again, Westwood said he’s struggled with his putting most of the season. He’s worked to improve it, however, and hopes to see the results soon. “I’d like to think they are going to drop tomorrow, but they have dropped all year so why should they change?” he said.

Donald and Westwood have had similar major championship seasons.

The two were both in contention at the Masters, with Donald finishing fourth and Westwood 11th. Two months later, Westwood finished in a share of third at the U.S. Open behind winner Rory McIlroy, while Donald was well back in 45th.

Donald and Westwood had high hopes entering the British Open at Royal St. George’s last month and both stunningly missed the cut. “I’ve got to figure out a way to contend a bit more” at majors, Donald said at the time.

Donald and Westwood didn’t just expect to contend at the PGA Championship — they wanted to win. Instead, they’re behind several players at the PGA ranked far below them like Dufner (No. 80), John Senden (No. 92), D.A. Points (No. 105), Keegan Bradley (No. 108) and Steele (No. 121).

Donald was asked if he might want to punch someone after his late falter.

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He did — himself. “I might punish myself in the gym,” he said.

TAGS: Donald, Golf, PGA Championship, Ryder Cup, Westwood

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