MORE INTERVIEWS: RBC Heritage transcripts
Q. 2‑under, 69. How difficult is it out there today?
LUKE DONALD: Extremely difficult. Strongest wind I've played in all year. Whipping around through the trees, as well. A lot of times you have to back off. Get really strong gusts of 30 miles an hour at some points.
It played tough. The back nine played especially tougher than the front. A lot of holes in and crosswinds on the backside. But I played a very solid round. And to have five birdies out there was pretty good.
Q. The three bogeys you had, very aggressive with that putt on 10. You ran it by four or five feet; missed that. Unfortunately you just flew the green at 13. And hit your tee shot into the trees on 15.
LUKE DONALD: 15 wasn't my best drive, but easily done when the wind is whipping like that.
13, I was staring that shot down, the wind must have carried it a little too far.
And 10, I came out of that second putt a little bit. It was extremely difficult conditions, and it was nice to get off to such a great start and get in the mix and at least give myself a chance.
Q. You had two good looks at birdies on 17 and 18.
LUKE DONALD: I did. Again, when it's this windy, it's hard to steady yourself and to get the putter to come back on the correct line. And just misread 17, really. I was expecting the wind to push that a little left to right. And 18 just didn't give enough break unfortunately on that putt.
Nice to at least give myself some opportunities.
Q. You're 7‑under, the leaders right now are or at 9. Are you going to hang around and hit shots and wait?
LUKE DONALD: I'll keep an eye on it a little bit. I think there are four guys ahead of me right now. I don't think it's going to be quite good enough. If I had made that putt on 18 I would have been even more interested.
Q. In simple terms how would you best explain today's conditions?
LUKE DONALD: Very tough. I think the wind is probably, out of all the elements, the toughest one we get to play in. And as windy as it was today, this course is tricky in good conditions. The first day, 6‑under, maybe a few 4's, but in tough conditions this course really bites.
Q. Right now you have the best score in the clubhouse. You're walking off the golf course today more positive? Are you feeling like you left a few shots?
LUKE DONALD: No, I can take a lot of positives. I think when it's this windy you're going to make a few mistakes, and the only real mistake I felt like I made was the drive on 15. 13 I thought I hit a good shot. 10, I'm this close to making birdie.
It was nice to get off to the great start like I did. I played so solid that front nine and gave myself a lot of opportunities and gave myself a lot of positives out of that.
Q. The four guys out still have to play the four exposed holes. What are your chances right now?
LUKE DONALD: 15 is playing tough, but it is a par‑5. 16, 17, I don't think they're playing as tough with those wind directions. But certainly 18 is a good finishing hole. Someone is going to need to make par there. It's going to take four good shots. But I'll hang around and see what happens. I don't think four guys will come back to me. But I would have loved to have made that putt on 18.
Q. The world of golf's perception of you in the last couple of years has been, if you're not finishing in the top 10, what is wrong with you. This is only your second top 10 of the year. Should we be concerned of your play or do you feel like you're turning it around?
LUKE DONALD: No, I like that perception. And I kind of got into that groove of thinking that way. But golf is fickle and it's tough and it's demanding sometimes. I certainly have put in the effort. And the 25th and 30th positions I'm having, I'm this close to being in contention and having a chance. There's a very fine line of contending and just being out of that mix. It's really being just not taking advantage of some of the opportunities I've been given on the greens and around the greens. As positive as I feel about my short game, I know that will turnaround.