The Masters: Donald inspired by debut heroics
It is not only the fact he became World Match Play champion six weeks ago that fills Luke Donald with such high hopes going into The Masters.
It is also the memory of his debut six years ago — in particular his finish.
Tiger Woods and Chris DiMarco were out on their own fighting for the title, but Donald played the last eight holes in a spectacular six under par to take a share of third place with Retief Goosen.
“I think you can still feed off it,” the world number four said on the eve of the season's first major.
“It goes back to 'if you have done it before you can do it again.'
“That's what makes this place exciting — it's there. Even if you're a few shots back you still feel you can make a run.
“I did so well that first year because I was just so excited to play and enjoyed it. I will try to do the same this year.”
Donald also remembers that his back nine in 2005 began with a double bogey six down the 10th. But he is only too happy to rattle off everything that followed.
He continued: “On 11 I drove right, cut a low three-iron just over the back and chipped in. On 12th I went in the bunker and got up and down from a plugged lie.
“At 13 I was just past the pin in two and made the 20-foot putt for eagle. The next was a par, then on 15 I was just over the edge of the green and chipped in again for eagle.
“I almost made a hole-in-one at 16 and birdied from a couple of feet, 17 was a solid par and on 18 I drove in the trees on the right, chipped out, hit an eight-iron to six feet and made it for par.”
It remains his best finish.