Another year, another Luke Donald sighting on the leaderboard at the RBC Heritage.
Donald’s name has been written in permanent marker in the standings at Harbour Town Golf Links for nearly a decade, and that trend continued Thursday when the Englishman opened with a 6-under 65. He is tied for second with Graham DeLaet, two strokes behind leader Bud Cauley.
The former world No. 1 has thrived amid the cozy confines of Harbour Town, with six finishes of T-3 or better over the last eight years – an impressive run of form that somehow has never seen him don the plaid jacket offered to the champion.
“Obviously I’ve had a lot of success here the last eight years. I’ve done everything but win,” said Donald, who finished T-2 last year behind Branden Grace. “It would be nice to give myself another chance to finally get over that hurdle.”
Donald’s early success is a bit of a surprise given his recent struggles. He entered the week ranked No. 96 in the world, missed the cut last month at one of his favorite courses, Innisbrook, and finished T-69 in Houston in his most recent start.
But a return to Hilton Head Island allowed him to rekindle his form of old in the opening round, which included five birdies and an eagle on the par-5 second hole.
“This place has been kind to me. Nice to get off to a great start,” he said. “It’s always nice to come back to places you feel comfortable and you’ve had success.”