Luke Donald stays positive after near miss at RBC Heritage

England’s Luke Donald narrowly failed to end a four-year title drought on the PGA Tour as he finished in a tie for second at the RBC Heritage in South Carolina on Sunday but said he was “really positive” about his game.

Though he squandered a one-shot lead heading into the final round at a venue where he had been a runner-up on three previous occasions, the former world number one was largely happy with the way he handled the pressure as the overnight pacesetter.

“Yeah, bridesmaid again, unfortunately, but I played OK today,” Donald, 38, told Golf Channel after carding a level-par 71 on the Harbour Town course at Hilton Head Island to finish two shots behind winner Branden Grace of South Africa.

“Just a couple of putts wouldn’t quite go in and, as I expected, someone played well. That was a great round from Branden.

“I guess next year I’ve got to try and be about three or four (shots) back going into Sunday, that seems to be the sweet spot,” grinned the Ryder Cup veteran, who has not triumphed on the PGA Tour since the 2012 Transitions Championship.

Grace had trailed Donald by three strokes after 54 holes.

For Donald, his week at Harbour Town represented excellent progress. He considered quitting professional golf just 11 months ago after a protracted form slump.

“This is my best finish this year,” said the five-times PGA Tour winner, who had previously recorded just one top-25 in 10 starts on the circuit this season, a tie for 22nd at the Valspar Championship last month.

“So this is a great step in the right direction. I am really positive about my game going forward and I am pretty positive about the way I handled it today.

“I didn’t quite get it done but I am excited about playing next week,” said Donald, referring to the Texas Open, which begins on Thursday.

He arrived at the Heritage ranked 95th in the world, but is projected to jump nearly 30 spots.

Official World Ranking:

1 Jason Day (Aus) 12.43pts, 2 Jordan Spieth (USA) 11.61, 3 Rory McIlroy (NIrl) 9.20, 4 Bubba Watson (USA) 8.37, 5 Rickie Fowler (USA) 7.63, 6 Henrik Stenson (Swe) 7.58, 7 Adam Scott (Aus) 7.07, 8 Dustin Johnson (USA) 6.80, 9 Danny Willett (Eng) 6.40, 10 Justin Rose (Eng) 5.94, 11 Branden Grace (Rsa) 5.47, 12 Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 4.94, 13 Patrick Reed (USA) 4.92, 14 Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 4.68, 15 Sergio Garcia (Spa) 4.37, 16 Brandt Snedeker (USA) 4.27, 17 Zach Johnson (USA) 4.08, 18 Brooks Koepka (USA) 4.00, 19 Phil Mickelson (USA) 3.93, 20 Charl Schwartzel (Rsa) 3.84.

US Tour Money Leaders:

1 Adam Scott (Aus) 4,362,198.00, 2 Jason Day (Aus) 3,416,229.00, 3 Russell Knox (Sco) 2,851,401.00, 4 Jordan Spieth (USA) 2,772,927.00, 5 Brandt Snedeker (USA) 2,732,166.00, 6 Bubba Watson (USA) 2,708,050.00, 7 Kevin Kisner (USA) 2,578,280.00, 8 Justin Thomas (USA) 2,370,087.00, 9 Kevin Na (USA) 2,366,916.00, 10 Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 2,353,610.00, 11 Dustin Johnson (USA) 2,138,399.00, 12 Smylie Kaufman (USA) 2,075,938.00, 13 Graeme McDowell (NIrl) 1,951,529.00, 14 Patrick Reed (USA) 1,889,389.00, 15 Phil Mickelson (USA) 1,790,600.00, 16 Rickie Fowler (USA) 1,752,307.00, 17 Jim Herman (USA) 1,725,924.00, 18 Jason Dufner (USA) 1,697,599.00, 19 Charl Schwartzel (Rsa) 1,691,136.00, 20 Emiliano Grillo (Arg) 1,656,983.00.

Race to Dubai Rankings:

1 Danny Willett (Eng) 2740474.00, 2 Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 1547861.00, 3 Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa) 1330596.00, 4 Rory McIlroy (NIrl) 1321645.00, 5 Henrik Stenson (Swe) 1045465.00, 6 Branden Grace (Rsa) 936353.00, 7 Lee Westwood (Eng) 883024.00, 8 Charl Schwartzel (Rsa) 712172.00, 9 Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 625222.00, 10 Chris Wood (Eng) 576440.00, 11 Marcus Fraser (Aus) 560372.00, 12 Byeong-Hun An (Kor) 529795.00, 13 Andy Sullivan (Eng) 525518.00, 14 Joost Luiten (Ned) 513055.00, 15 Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng) 509290.00, 16 Andrew Johnson (USA) 480647.00, 17 Thomas Pieters (Bel) 466540.00, 18 Sergio Garcia (Spa) 436480.00, 19 Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha) 387670.00, 20 Victor Dubuisson (Fra) 379396.00.

Women’s World Rankings:

1 Lydia Ko (Nzl) 13.94pts, 2 Inbee Park (Kor) 9.44, 3 Lexi Thompson (USA) 7.45, 4 Stacy Lewis (USA) 6.41, 5 Sei Young Kim (Kor) 6.18, 6 In Gee Chun (Kor) 6.06, 7 Brooke null Henderson (Can) 5.93, 8 Ha Na Jang (Kor) 5.82, 9 Amy Yang (Kor) 5.59, 10 Shanshan Feng (Chn) 4.90, 11 So Yeon Ryu (Kor) 4.88, 12 Minjee Lee (Aus) 4.75, 13 Hyo Joo Kim (Kor) 4.63, 14 Suzann Pettersen (Nor) 4.21, 15 Bo-Mee Lee (Kor) 4.09, 16 Cristie Kerr (USA) 3.95, 17 Anna Nordqvist (Swe) 3.90, 18 Brittany Lincicome (USA) 3.37, 19 Sung Hyun Park (Kor) 3.36, 20 Na Yeon Choi (Kor) 3.34.


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