Length does not worry Donald

2006-04-04 18:19
Augusta, Georgia - Jack Nicklaus is among those who believe additional length at Augusta National has created such an advantage to the big hitters that only a dozen or so players have a realistic chance of winning the Masters this week.

Luke Donald isn't buying it.

He actually believes the length plays to his strengths.

The 28-year-old from England has moderate power off the tee - and that's being generous - relying instead on purely struck iron shots with a classic swing. It sure didn't hurt him last year in his Masters debut, when he posted three rounds in the 60s - a 76 in the third round derailing his hopes - to finish in a tie for third, seven shots out of the playoff.

"They have lengthened the course, and it's definitely harder," Donald said on Monday. "But hopefully, that will just play to my strengths of having to hit very accurate, long irons. That's something I've done well throughout my career, and I feel like even though the course has changed, I've changed as a player, too."

His biggest change of late was hoisting a trophy, which had held him back.

A former US college champion and Walker Cup player, Donald won as a rookie on the US PGA Tour at the rain-delayed, opposite-field Southern Farm Bureau Classic at the end of 2002.

He contended on some of the meatier courses, such as Torrey Pines, but his iron play often deserted him on the closing holes.

He broke through a month ago at the Honda Classic, hitting a 7-iron into 2 feet on the 18th hole to clinch the victory. Now, Donald is setting his goals a little higher.

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