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April 29 2011

4:00 PM

Donald in position to make No. 1 run

As mentioned earlier in the week. Luke Donald has another chance at becoming No. 1 in the world.

Here’s how: Donald, currently No. 3 in the Official World Golf Ranking, needs to win or finish second at the Zurich Classic to overtake Martin Kaymer, currently No. 2 in the OWGR. Lee Westwood, the current No. 1, needs to finish fifth or better at the Ballentine’s Championship to stay at the top. If Donald is second at the Zurich Classic, Westwood needs to finish in the top three to stay at No. 1 and if Donald wins in New Orleans, Westwood also needs a win.

So far, so good for Donald. The Englishman is 3 under through his first 12 holes today and 7 under for the week, just two shots off the current lead of Bubba Watson. Westwood, meanwhile, is six shots off the pace in Seoul, South Korea.

Whatever happens, Donald is well on his way to what looks like will be a career year. He has five top-10s in six starts, which includes a win and a runner-up at last week’s Heritage, where he lost in a playoff.

Perhaps the most amazing thing about Donald’s season, though, is that as well as he’s been hitting it, he still ranks 166th in driving distance, 141st in greens in regulation and 134th in total driving.

So what’s been the difference? He’s first in putting average and second in scrambling.

That’s not exactly a huge departure the rest of his career -- the difference is Donald is turning pars into birdies and so on, which is why he also leads the PGA TOUR in scoring average. He’s simply making more shots than in the past.

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