May 13 2012
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Luke Donald and his caddy John McLaren had a bit of a chat before the Englishman stepped to the podium to talk to reporters.
Donald's 66, which included a sterling 30 on the back nine that tied the Stadium Course record for that segment, had moved him up the leaderboard to 9 under. The leaders had yet to reach the back nine but Donald was just two off the pace and safely in the clubhouse.
Hence, the dilemma. To paraphrase the immortal words of the English punk rock band, The Clash: Should he stay or should he go?
"I think with obviously the dramatic finish there is here, I'm going to have to probably stick around," Donald said. "I mean, they might get to a point where someone gets to 13, 14 with a couple of holes to play and then I think I can probably scoot out of here.
"You never know around this course. Personally, I don't think it's going to be enough, but certainly was a nice effort to shoot 30 on the inward half and give myself a chance."
McLauren's situation was iffy, though. He was flying back across the Atlantic and his flight was due to leave shortly after 7 p.m.
"That's the tough thing about traveling back to Europe week-in and week-out," said Donald, who has homes in south Florida and Chicago, where he went to college at Northwestern. "But we'll figure it out. I'm sure he's happy that I at least have a chance."
Donald, who made the turn in 30, had that opportunity after making three consecutive birdies twice on the back nine. He called the Stadium Course "manageable” on Sunday. “You don't shoot 30 if its right on the edge," the Brit said.
Donald, who can return to No. 1 if he finishes solo fourth or better, said the way he played on the front nine Sunday was not unlike the last few rounds. He'd hit some good shots and some others not quite up to his standards, but all in all he felt in control.
"There are some opportunities here because the greens are soft to really go at some of these pins," Donald said. "I was just trying to kind of get some momentum on the greens more than anything."
And that he did. Donald made a 5-footer at the 10th hole, two putted from 52 feet at No. 11 and holed an 8-footer at the 11th.
"And when I got that one in, I perked up a little," Donald said. "I thought I had a chance to maybe do something special on the back nine."