Luke Donald continues to hit rough patches at the conclusion of his rounds. He absolutely butchered the 18th last week at the WGC Cadillac Championship. Now, this week at the Tampa Bay Championship Presented by Everbank, Donald self-destructed once again over his last nine holes. He started on the back nine today, which he played two under par and proceeded to birdie the first hole (his 10th). After that, things got ugly. Donald finished bogey-par-bogey-bogey, playing the final four holes at three under par. This left him at a respectable but still disappointing one under on the day.
Even with his lackluster finish, Donald is currently only three shots off the lead held by Billy Horschel, who is still early in his first round. Tag Ridings and Brendan Steele are the leaders in the clubhouse at three under par. At point in the middle of his round, Donald shared the lead with his playing partner K.J. Choi at three under. Choi didn’t drop quite as many shots as Donald, however, and sits at two under after his first 18.
The weather may have had something to do with the struggles of Donald and many of the other pros. Considering that the course requires relatively precise placement off the tee, the cool, windy conditions aren’t helping the scoring much. The guys that are going to do well this week are going to hit fairways and will be able to get up and down around the greens. That’s a recipe for success in most events, but talent around the greens is even more imperative at Innisbrook.