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March 11, 2006

Luke Donald


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome Luke Donald in, 4 under par 68 today. Luke, conditions, you guys have been talking about the difficulty out there, and they have referenced even Shinnecock at some point. If you could just talk about what's going on out there and how difficult it really is.

LUKE DONALD: It is quite difficult. It is a difficult course and it does remind you of like a Pinehurst or a Shinnecock in the way just because of the severe run offs. You don't have to hit too bad of a shot to be penalized quite severely. The greens are very severe out here, and that's what makes the course very difficult. You know, that coupled with a bit of wind makes it tough and that's why the scores are pretty down right now.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Talk about your game and how you played today.

LUKE DONALD: I felt like I played the best of today was my best day out of the three. So I'm encouraged about that. I felt like I hit it very solidly. I didn't really do too much mistakes. It was a lot of good driving, a lot of good iron play. I holed a few putts. I hit a couple of loose irons at the end, but kind of got away with it on 17 with a good up and down. Overall, I feel very good about my game.

JOE CHEMYCZ: 15 of 18 greens today.

LUKE DONALD: Yeah, that's solid there with, with the way these greens are. Again, I missed a couple of greens coming down the stretch. 15, 16, I didn't hit very good irons, and neither did I at 17. But, yeah, that's a good stat. I obviously hit it pretty well tee to green.

Q. A lot of the guys around you on the leaderboard are all having wildly up and down days with birdies and bogeys, almost every time you turn around. You were really consistent pretty much all day. How difficult was it to not get swept away in these conditions and get a little too overaggressive on the back like a lot of guys are doing?

LUKE DONALD: I definitely didn't press too hard today. I think the front nine, you would like to 1 through 12, you'd like to make your score on those holes. It's a good finishing stretch; 13 through 18 are pretty good holes. There's not too many holes where you think, wow, I can make a birdie here, apart from maybe 17.

1 through 12, I was just playing steady, nothing much happening. Made three good birdies. But I missed a few putts even, but I still didn't press. I try not to look at leaderboards. I really didn't pay much attention to what the other guys were doing and just tried to get on with it myself.

Q. Any lessons learned from the final round of THE PLAYERS Championship last year that maybe you applied if you're in the lead after that on a Sunday or near it, or any lessons that you think you may apply tomorrow?

LUKE DONALD: The Sunday at PLAYERS was a little bit of an extreme example just because of the weather. I felt like a few of my mistakes were good shots that I caught a gust of wind or, you know, I probably didn't miss on the right side and that cost me. You know, the more chances you get going into Sunday, having the lead, the more comfortable you feel, the better that you can get used to the surroundings and everything like that. Every week I'm giving myself chances and feeling more good about it.

Q. And how many holes did you have to play on last day at THE PLAYERS last year, do you remember?

LUKE DONALD: If it wasn't 36, it was maybe 32 or 33 holes.

Q. You mentioned there that you had a lot of good shots at PLAYERS that caught a gust of wind and didn't land where you wanted them to, with the conditions here, how good is it then that you hit good shots that maybe didn't catch a gust of wind and wind up in the wrong spot?

LUKE DONALD: I think today, the wind I thought was a little bit less of a factor. I thought it was a little bit calmer than the first two days. You know, you really didn't have to punch the ball too much under the wind. It was more a case of, you know, just, it just wasn't much of a factor, the wind for me today. I thought it was a lot calmer and it just didn't seem to affect the ball so much. Maybe I was just hitting it a little bit better, a little bit more solid through the wind. I thought it was almost an easier day today.

Q. How well did the setup of the course look, was that a little stronger than yesterday and Thursday?

LUKE DONALD: I didn't really think so. I thought it was very similar. A couple sucker pins out there, but if you'd done your homework, you should have realized where they were and played safe. I thought the course was set up fine.

Q. Did they appear to back off on watering the greens at all overnight?

LUKE DONALD: They seemed a little bit softer yesterday. I played early Friday and they were pretty soft. But today, you know, they were holding pretty well. I didn't think they were releasing too badly. So, I mean, I didn't really complain about the setup of the course. It was pretty slow out there, which I was surprised, being twosomes, but maybe people were having trouble.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Take us through your birdies and bogeys, starting with the birdie on 6.

LUKE DONALD: 6 was a drive and a 3 iron, I just missed to the right of the green and chipped it to about ten feet and holed the putt.

8 was a 7 iron to about three feet.

12, drive, 3 wood to the front green side bunker and hit a good shot there to about three feet.

14 was a drive, 7 iron, I holed about a 10 foot putt.

16, drive, 6 iron long left, and missed about a 10 foot putt for par there.

17, drive, 3 iron just pin high right, not a very nice lie in the rough, and hit it to about six feet and holed the putt. Good chip.

Q. Were there any saves of note?

LUKE DONALD: 15, really, was the only save. I missed the green right and chipped up a little past the hole about 15 feet and holed a good putt to kind of keep the momentum going. But other than that, you know, I hit 15 of 18 greens. There was even a few birdies I left out there.

Q. Was 18 one of the better putts you hit today, even though it didn't go in?

LUKE DONALD: No, I didn't hit it hard enough. It was lacking in speed. I think even if it was on line, it might not have got there. So 18 was just a solid par.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Luke, thank you. Play well tomorrow.

End of FastScripts.

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