Donald looks worth a shot at St Andrews

FOR those looking for a value punt for this week’s British Open, Luke Donald is worth an investment.

The English man spent last week in Ireland fine-tuning his game at Ballybunion and the Old Head, and his game looks in really tight shape for the Open Championship at St Andrews.

Oddsmakers have him ranging from 35/1 (Boylesports) to over 40s on Betfair to win the season’s third major but of far more relevance is those who spied him at both Irish venues last week.

Donald remained in Adare after the JP McManus Pro-Am and played Ballybunion on Thursday before helicoptering to the Old Head on Friday.

He had a small but interesting gallery at Ballyb where he kept his game under impressive control despite the elements. And he repeated the form on Friday at the Old Head, where he had ex-footballer and friend Jamie Redknapp for company.

“He was around in 68 off the black markers and was swinging really well,” reported Old Head director of golf, Danny Brassil.

“That matched the course record set here in 2002, but we’ve moved the tees around since to make it more difficult, and the best over the past few years has been 70. That underlines how impressive his card was,” said Brassil.

Donald also visited Lahinch and Waterville as he prepared for St Andrews, a strategy he explained yesterday: “Links practice is vital. I did something similar last year in Scotland and had a good Open Championship. My form is very good so I’ll be very optimistic of having another good Open.” He added: “I’ve played the Old Course a few times and I feel very comfortable around it. It’s a course you have to play several times to know where you are going and what you are doing. I’ve had some very good rounds there, so hopefully I can feed off that.

“The recipe for success at St Andrews is staying out of the bunkers. They are like water hazards. It’s a shot lost automatically if you go in one.”


So I’ve booked my holidays. And before you ask, yes, I’m basing it around food and wine. I’ll report back in July, but I thought readers might be interested in my plan should you be thinking about a similar holiday.Wines to pick up on a trip to France

Esther N McCarthy is on a roll for the new year with sustainable solutions, cool citruses and vintage vibes.Wish List: Sustainable solutions, cool citruses and vintage vibes

They have absolutely nothing really to do with Jerusalem or indeed with any type of artichoke, so what exactly are these curious little tubers?Currabinny Cooks: Exploring the versatility of Jerusalem artichokes

Arlene Harris talks to three women who have stayed on good terms with their ex.The ex-factor: Three women on staying friends with their former partner

More From The Irish Examiner