Timely Ryder Cup boost for Donald from Tour Championship

Atlanta: Britain’s Luke Donald gave himself a timely jolt of confidence for next week’s Ryder Cup by finishing second at the elite-field Tour Championship on Sunday.

Donald holed out from 100 feet to birdie the par-four 17th on the way to a level-par 70 at a rain-sodden East Lake Golf Club before ending up just a stroke behind triumphant American Jim Furyk.

“This performance will just give me a little bit of added confidence going into next week,” Donald told reporters after posting a seven-under total of 273 in the PGA Tour’s final playoff event of the year.

“Hopefully my good play can turn into some points for the European side.”

One of three wildcard picks by captain Colin Montgomerie for the Oct. 1-3 match against the United States in Wales, Donald was the only member of the European Ryder Cup team competing in a field of 30 at East Lake.

“I didn’t think I had anything to prove to Monty,” the English world number nine said. “I felt like I was deserving of a pick.

“I have a great Ryder Cup record and I’m top 10 in the world so I didn’t really think I had anything to prove.”

Donald, bidding for a third PGA Tour victory, began the final round at East Lake a stroke behind the pacesetting Furyk but he trailed by three after bogeying the fourth and eighth.

Digging Deep

“I didn’t get off to a very fast start...but when the weather got bad, I was able to dig deep and shoot two under on the back side and give myself a chance,” he said.

“So it was a mixture of disappointment but also pride in myself for at least digging deep and giving myself a chance at the end there.”

Donald finished one group ahead of Furyk and then watched on television as the American salvaged par from a greenside bunker at the last to secure victory and avoid a playoff.

“I knew the finish was going to be tough,” Donald said. “Sixteen, 17, 18 with the rain and the wind direction, those holes were going to play probably the three toughest.

“Usually you head to the range just on the chance you’d be in a playoff, but I didn’t feel like going out in the rain and drowning myself even more,” the Englishman added with a smile. “So I was just watching the action, no real thoughts.”

Donald covered the last six holes in two under, the highlight his chip-in at the 17th where he celebrated in jubilant fashion after his ball completed a 360-degree turn around the hole before disappearing into the cup.

“I told my caddie, I need to chip this in and make a two on the last,” he said. “I did half of it. I didn’t quite make the putt on 18, but I gave it a good shot.”

Bureau Report

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