Luke Donald is one of five players in red numbers after the first round of the U.S. Open.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ARDMORE, Pa. -- The closing bogey was unfortunate but Luke Donald certainly won't have time to dwell on it.
The Englishman will only have a little over an hour before he heads back to the 11th tee to begin his second round in the U.S. Open. He planned to get a quick bite to eat, regroup and head back to the practice range.
"I think it's good to have a good turnaround," Donald. said. "I'll still be warm."
Donald actually had owned sole possession of the lead when darkness forced suspension of the first round at 8:16 p.m. Thursday evening after two weather delays totaling more than four hours. He had just birdied the 13th hole, his third straight, to get to 4 under and slip ahead of Phil Mickelson.
Donald returned to face the teeth of Merion in totally different weather conditions on Friday morning, though. The wind had changed, the air was damp and the temperature had dropped about 20 degrees. Donald ended up three-putting two of his last three holes to shoot a 68 that left him one off the lead.
"I didn't hit a poor drive on 14, it was still a good drive and it left me probably a 4- or 3-iron into that hole," Donald said. "So very different to yesterday. I'm guessing a lot of the guys were hitting 3-wood and probably a short to mid-iron. So it made 14, 15, 17 a lot harder.
"Sort of made 16 and 18 easier. That's why it's a little disappointing to come off those two holes making bogey, despite hitting the greens. So, but certainly those last five holes are very, very tough."
Donald, the former world No. 1 looking for his first major championship, said the practice rounds he played at Merion last week were very valuable. He has never posted a top-10 finish in nine previous U.S. Open.
"Felt like it's a course where it wasn't too demanding in terms of having to hit a lot of drivers," Donald said. "I think that put a lot of irons into my hands off tees and I just felt like it was a little bit more suited to my style of play."