Luke Donald still believes his Open moment will come

A bit more luck on the greens and the world No 1 says it could have been a different result

Royal Lytham

Luke Donald responded to missing the cut at the US Open by matching his highest-ever finish in the Open Championship. Missing the cut in a major as world No 1 is not something Donald wants to make a habit of but last month's failure followed a similar one at last year's Open at Sandwich.

When Donald tied for fifth place at Turnberry in 2009 he was accused by an American journalist of sneaking up the leader board on the last day when not under pressure – "Luke Donald disease" it was called.

Another way of looking at it is that Donald keeps grinding until the final whistle, trying to figure out a way to keep improving his standing. And to think he is not under pressure whenever he tees up as the world's best player is far from the mark. A 69 yesterday left him at two under par and joint fifth with Graeme McDowell. Meanwhile, his two rivals at the top of the world rankings finished well down the leader board, Lee Westwood on six over after a 72 and Rory McIlroy on eight over after a 73.

"You can learn a lot by playing poorly like I did at the US Open," Donald said, "and not living up to my expectations. I certainly was very anxious and didn't do a good job on the mental side. So this week was a huge improvement in terms of that and I'll use that going forward."

Donald was certainly left optimistic of a future Open triumph was within his grasp. "Tee to green I was good enough to win this week," he said. "It was certainly solid enough, I hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens. It just came down to the short stick, which usually is a strength of mine. But it's a different type of surface on these old links courses. Sometimes you just need to get on those runs where it goes in. Certainly I didn't hit too many poor putts, it's just getting on that run. It will happen."

McIlroy finished so early that the leaders were still some time from teeing off and the 23-year-old could look forward to willing on his friend and fellow Northern Irishman McDowell. "Adam [Scott] obviously has a bit of a lead but I know from experience it's hard to go out and protect something like that," McIlroy said.

Sadly, it was not to be McDowell's day but McIlroy added about his Ryder Cup partner: "He's very gritty and enjoys these types of days. That's what he plays for. When you have to make a lot of pars, that's when he is at his best."

It is a virtue that the younger man is still acquiring. While he took advantage of a soft course at Congressional last year to win the US Open in record-breaking fashion, he could not do so here on a links that was as benign as it could be for three days.

McIlroy started well on Thursday until he hit a spectator on the head and went out of bounds on the 15th hole. He got revenge on the hole yesterday by holing out from a bunker for a birdie. But in between times his Open hopes had long since disappeared.

He struggled with his game for the last three days and said there were going to be times over a 20-year career when he had to be patient while working on his game. "I'm not going to get too wound up over the next few weeks," he said. "I've got to keep plugging away, working on the right things and eventually it will all come round."

But after his rant about the weather at the Open last year, McIlroy left Lytham convinced there was no reason a Claret Jug could be in his possession one day. "I feel like I can win any given week if I play well," he said. "I don't think there is a major that is harder to win than any other. I think they are all equal. I would have said the US Open a couple of years ago the way they set up the courses, but I got a US Open where it was a bit softer and I was able to be a bit more aggressive. You've just got to beat all the other guys. I treat all the majors equally and try to do my best."

On the other hand, Westwood conceded the fine margins on a links course might make the Open the hardest of the majors to win. He had a chance to win at Turnberry three years ago but three-putted at the last to miss the playoff between Stewart Cink and Tom Watson.

"You certainly need a bit more luck at the Open Championship with the draw," he said. "But that didn't really come into it this week. You just need a few good breaks. Landing in the fairway with the slopes, the difference between ending up in a trap or being in good shape can be 60 or 70 yards. It is probably the hardest of the four to win."

Westwood started the championship with two birdies followed by a double bogey. Yesterday, he started with a par and then had two birdies followed by a double bogey. He just never got any momentum going.

Next year Westwood will return to the Open aged 40. "That's when life begins, so I'm told," he said. In fact he will be starting a new life in America with the family joining him in Florida at the turn of the year. His immediate schedule is all Stateside with the Bridgestone World Invitational, the USPGA Championship and then the Fed-Ex Cup series on the PGA Tour. The reason for moving? "The English winter," he said, "and the English summers. I struggled over there for a while but I've really enjoyed it in recent years."

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
Life and Style
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits