Luke Donald shot 71 on Saturday and will start the final round two back. (Kinniard/Getty Images)
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ARDMORE, Pa. -- Luke Donald planned to forget the last two holes he played on Saturday and dwell on the first 16 that got him into the lead at the U.S. Open.
The bogey-double bogey finish was hardly what he'd hoped. But even with the stumble, Donald is still just two strokes behind Phil Mickelson, contending for what would be his first major championship.
"I played a solid round today other than those last two holes," said Donald, who stands 1 over entering the final round after Saturday's 71. "Could have been even better. Through 16 holes, I could have been 4 or 5 under and really was playing as good a golf as I played for awhile.
"Pretty much in control my ball and I'll forget about those two holes and carry on tomorrow."
Donald, who is trying to end an English drought at the U.S. Open that stretches back to Tony Jacklin's win in 1970, hit his tee shots right on both those holes. He acknowledged the errant shots might have been due to a bit of fatigue after a week that started with two weather delays of more than four hours and necessitated the first three rounds carry over into the next day.
"I had to get a little extra out of the 2-iron," Donald said. "And my poor swings is when I attack too hard from the top and I get out of sync and they go right. And unfortunately those holes are playing tough. I should have done better. It was disappointing."
So was the approach at the 18th hole, another 2-iron that settled in dense rough. Donald sent his third shot over the green, chipped on and two-putted.
"I had to carry 229, I think, to get to just over that false front," Donald said. "Again, that's a good 2-iron for me. And I just went at it too hard from the top and that's my kind of miss at the moment is just to the right.
"The rough has been tough this week, but I've never seen a lie like that. It was unfortunate, I didn't deserve much better, I shouldn't have been over there, but if I had a decent lie, I probably would have had a putt for four."