Donald stamps his mark on the best in the game

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The Independent Online

Luke Donald yesterday became just the 10th player in Masters history to eagle the 13th and 15th holes in the same round - and with two late birdies as well made it a memorable debut in the event.

Luke Donald yesterday became just the 10th player in Masters history to eagle the 13th and 15th holes in the same round - and with two late birdies as well made it a memorable debut in the event.

Donald shot a 69 to finish joint third with South Africa's Retief Goosen on 283. "It was a great performance," the 27-year-old Donald said. "I'm very happy and I'll be back next year high in confidence. You can always look back at what went wrong, but if someone had said three rounds in the 60s on my debut I would have taken it."

Donald followed a double bogey six at the 10th by playing the next six holes in six under. He chipped in at the 15th. He had been joint second after an opening 68, dropped back into the pack with a second round 77, but then showed why many people think he has the game to win major titles. Just two weeks ago, he was joint runner-up in the Players Championship in Florida - the game's "fifth major".

Fellow-Briton David Howell also had a superb closing 69. Having witnessed Tiger Woods' amazing charge before lunch, Howell went out and earned himself a second trip to Augusta.

The joint leader with Ryder Cup team-mate Donald and American Chris DiMarco midway through the second round, Howell had fallen back to 21st with a 76 when he was paired with Woods. But the 29-year-old from Swindon, little known in the United States, then had the first eagle of the week on the 575-yard second and had a hat-trick of birdies from the 14th.

Howell refused to blame Woods' charge for his third-round problems. "I don't know that what Tiger was doing really affected me - it's better when someone is playing well with you," he said.

Not all the cheers were for Woods on the final day. The South African Trevor Immelman had fans on their feet at the 16th with a hole in one.

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