US PGA Championship - Stumbling finish leaves Donald seething
Luke Donald, usually ice-cool in demeanour, was left fuming after his third-round charge at the US PGA Championship on Saturday was derailed by the brutal last four holes.
The British world number one had closed to within a stroke of the lead after sinking a 30-foot birdie putt at the par-four 14th but he then bogeyed the 16th before signing off with a double-bogey at the treacherous last.
"Obviously the finish leaves a bitter taste in my mouth," Donald told reporters after carding a two-under-par 68 for a one-under total of 209 at Atlanta Athletic Club.
"I was in a great position at four under and thought maybe I could even grab an extra birdie, get to five under. Who knows, that I could be leading by the end of the day?
"I'm trying to stay positive. I am angry. Had something really good going there and kind of threw it away. I might punish myself in the gym," he added with a faint smile.
Donald, who has yet to add a major title to his otherwise glittering career resume, began another steaming hot day at Atlanta Athletic Club six strokes off the pace.
However, the dapper Englishman quickly got to work, shrugging off a bogey at the par-four second with birdies at the third, fourth, fifth and ninth to reach the turn in three-under 32.
He picked up further shots at the 13th and 14th to trail the leaders by just one stroke and narrowly missed a 10-footer for birdie at the 15th before falling fowl of the brutal finish on the par-70 Highland course.
Donald bogeyed the par-four 16th after failing to get up and down from a greenside bunker and then ran up an ugly six at the par-four last after finding sand off the tee and dumping his third shot into the pond guarding the front of the green.
"My aim is never to lay up on that hole in two, but it's very hard to attack it and give yourself a mid to short iron in there," Donald said of the 507-yard hole which has been the course's toughest this week.
"It's just the way the fairway contours and the angle of the tee shot, it's a very tight tee shot if you want to take that on."
Overall, though, Donald was pleased with his game in Saturday's third round.
"A very disappointing finish, but there was a lot of great golf out there, too," said the 33-year-old, a six-times winner on the European Tour. "I played a lot better today. A lot more fairways and gave myself some good opportunities.
"This course does offer some birdie opportunities, and you can get it under par.
"But there are some tough holes out there that you've got to weather, and the champion at the end of the week is probably going to have played those tough ones the best."