Donald: Links effect is set to test players to the limit

WORLD No1 Luke Donald admitted he was brought back down to earth by the demands of this year’s Open course at Royal St George’s.

The Englishman shot a 63 at Castle Stuart on Sunday to claim the Scottish Open, but found the going rather tougher in his first practice round at Sandwich ahead of this week’s Open Championship.

Into a strong wind, Donald could not reach the fairway on the long seventh and even needed to hit a driver on the short 11th.

“It really tested everything,” said Donald, whose closing round in Inverness was the lowest of his European Tour career.

“I think that’s part of what you get when you come to links golf – you don’t really know what you’re going to get.

“Yesterday was sunny and not too windy, today was a little chillier and a pretty stiff breeze. That’s the nature of links.

“The preparation I did before the Scottish we had good weather too, so I haven’t really done a lot in this kind of a wind.”

Meanwhile, Donald’s compatriot Lee Westwood is finally hoping to break his duck in the Majors at the 54th attempt. Third at Turnberry in 2009 – he bogeyed the last when a par would have put him in the play-off – and runner-up to Louis Oosthuizen last year, Westwood knows he is moving in the right direction.

“Hopefully it's a mathematical progression – third, second, obviously I’m hoping for a first,” he said.