Red hot Donaldson boosts Ryder Cup hopes

MACCLESFIELD’S Jamie Donaldson displayed the class and composure of a future Ryder Cup star as the Welshman stormed to the top of the leaderboard at the D+D REAL Czech Masters, edging one step closer to a place in Paul McGinley’s European team in the process.

WHAT'S MY LINE: Jamie Donaldson studies a putt

WHAT’S MY LINE: Jamie Donaldson studies a putt

The World Number 29 would seal his berth at the Gleneagles showcase with a win at the stunning Albatross Golf Resort outside Prague, and a six under par first round 66 handed him the perfect start as he moved one shot clear of Swede Mikael Lundberg.

Playing alongside fellow Ryder Cup hopeful Stephen Gallacher, who carded a two under 70, Donaldson started the inaugural event with a bang as he birdied the first en route to a three under par front nine.

A bogey at the par four 11th knocked him back to two under before his world-class talent came to the fore on the home stretch, carding four birdies in the last seven holes to move into pole position.

Lundberg, a winner on The European Tour already this year at the Lyoness Open powered by Greenfinity, signed for a 67 to hold second place outright ahead of ten players on four under par.

Donaldson said: “It’s a good start and I played nicely all the way really. I seemed to play the tougher holes better than the easy holes but I’m happy with how I played. It was always going to be a little bit of a low score if there wasn’t much wind and, while there was a little bit early on, it got easier as the wind dropped towards the end.

“It’s very important to get those approach shots in close and give yourself a lot of chances and I did that, the score reflected that.

“I generally like playing in wind or rain but today it was windy in places and those par threes play long out there so I was wearing my three iron out. But I’m in a good position and more of the same tomorrow.

“I know what I’ve got to do this week so it’s just a case of going out and doing it. It’s another golf tournament where you’ve got to go out there and play as well as you can and contend to win the tournament. I’m in a position to do that now, I just need more of the same over the next three rounds.

“You can’t go too heavily into it (Ryder Cup prospects), you have to go out there and it’s just one shot at a time like any other week. There are other things circling around this result but you have to get on with it and keep doing the same things you’ve been doing every week.”

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