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Donald still has shot at ending Par-3 jinx

Saturday, April 09, 2011

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With his 4-under-par 68 on Friday, Luke Donald put himself in position to challenge for his first Masters Tournament title.

Should everything fall into place for him Sunday, the Englishman also would end a 51-year-old curse. No one has won the Par-3 Contest, as Donald did Wednesday, and the Masters in the same year.

"I'm in a good place," said Donald, who is tied for 12th after two rounds at 4 under. "I'm not really thinking about that (curse) but it would be great to do the double."

Ranked No. 4 in the Official World Golf Ranking, Donald has rarely been exceptional in Augusta. He missed the cut twice in his first six attempts, including last year when he shot 74-75.

"I feel like I'm in a better place with where my golf is," said Donald, who is at 4-under for the tournament. "I'm looking forward to the weekend. It'll be nice to not watch it on TV."

Donald, 33, who battled lingering effects from a wrist injury from 2008-09, had his best finish in his first Masters. He went 68-77-69-69 to tie for third place in 2005.

"I think I came here in 2005 just eager to play," Donald said. "Part of that enjoyment of wanting to be here causes a lot of those good scores. Certainly, I'm a better player than I was back then."

Donald has three PGA Tour victories, including this year in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship as he defeated Charley Hoffman, Edoardo Molinari, Matteo ManAssero, Ryan Moore, Matt Kuchar and current No. 1 Martin Kaymer.

Donald' started Friday's round with birdies at Nos. 2, 4 and 5 and later at 11, 13, 14 and 17. Donald, who endorses Mizuno, a Japanese company, is donating $5,000 per birdie this week to relief efforts for Japan's disaster.

"I think the Japanese are a resilient nation and they'll recover quickly," Donald said. "It's nice to be able to help out."

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