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On Friday, Luke Donald carded a slightly bizarre second round that included eight birdies, two bogeys and a triple bogey. However, it was an incident at the par 4 16th which the Englishman would remember most, as he "did something that he's never done in golf!"
Donald, who is the European Ryder Cup captain for 2023, an event that is actually taking place at this week's venue, Marco Simone Golf And Country Club, had been going along nicely until the par 4. Following a pulled drive, he ended up playing the wrong golf ball after the spotter allegedly went to the wrong one.
Birdie no.8 of the day for the @RyderCupEurope Captain 👏 @LukeDonald | #DS79OpendItalia pic.twitter.com/aF2wUpZhbBSeptember 16, 2022
Speaking to Sky Sports afterwards, the 44-year-old said: "I did something I don’t think I’ve ever done in golf. I hit the wrong ball on 16, which was frustrating. I hit a poor tee shot left in the rough, the spotter kind of went straight to the ball and I just assumed it was mine. In fact, mine was a few feet left of it and yeah that was a costly 7."
Because Donald had played the wrong golf ball, he was given a general penalty of two strokes, eventually finishing the hole with a triple-bogey seven. After the triple, he parred the 17th, before a birdie at the 18th meant a round of 68 and a five-under-par tournament total as he heads into the weekend.
Sitting around the top 10, Donald is looking to better his best result of 2022, a T16 finish at the Valspar Championship, with the former World No.1 missing the cut in his last two starts - Made In Himmerland and BMW PGA Championship.
Although the Ryder Cup is a year away, players on the European side have been vocal about the names that could feature in Rome at the Italian Open this week. Rory McIlroy, who is making his Italian Open debut, has reiterated that none of the LIV Golf players should be part of the Ryder Cup team, with the World No.2 stating: “I have said it once, I've said it a hundred times, I don't think any of those guys should be on the Ryder Cup team."
In contrast, recent US Open winner, Matt Fitzpatrick, has claimed that "I just want to win the Ryder Cup, so in my opinion, I want to be part of the team myself but I want the 11 best guys we can get. I'm not really too bothered about where they are going to come from. I just want to make sure that we win and I think that's what's most important."
Matt studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.
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