Have a nonchalant scroll down the world rankings and you will event-ually come to the name of Luke Donald. No? Well, you will need to keep going down a bit. A wee bit more. Look, there he is at No.553.

From the giddy highs of world No.1 a few years ago, Donald’s well-doc-umented injury troubles led to him plumbing such lows, his clubs just about had deep sea coral forming on the hosels.

Here at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, the 41-year-old is enjoying being back in the upper echelons again.

Victor Perez and Matthew Southgate may share the lead on 20-under heading into the closing round but Donald’s 16-under tally, after a delightfully assembled eight-under 64, has the experienced Englishman handily placed in a lofty position that will certainly get the juices flowing and the butterflies birling.

“There are nerves every round, but that’s to be expected,” he said as he looked forward to the prospect of being in the merry midst of the title cut-and-thrust on the final Sunday. “I’ve certainly been putting in time in with my game and it’s nice to finally see some results.”


Donald, the former Ryder Cup stalwart and a multiple global winner who has not tasted victory since a success in Japan in 2013, is certainly keen to embrace the moment.

He enjoyed a particular moment, too, on the Old Course yesterday with a final hole eagle which was the kind of finish that grandstands were invented for.

From 50 odd yards, Donald dinked a neatly executed wedge up and over the Valley of Sin and watched it bounce and gently trundle into the hole.

READ MORE: Robert MacIntyre takes route 66 at the Old Course

“I nipped it nicely,” said the 2011 Scottish Open winner of that little bit of magic. “There are a lot of good players up there, the scoring is very low and I’m sure Sunday will be more of the same. I’ll have to go out there and shoot a very low number if I’m going to have a chance.”

Joint leader Southgate, meanwhile, knows a bit about winning in this neck of the woods. The 30-year-old, who posted a 65 yesterday, triumphed in the St Andrews Links Trophy over the Old Course as an amateur in 2010.

As an additional aid, Southgate’s amateur partner in the team event this weekend is the former R&A chief executive Peter Dawson, who has probably got a mobile phone App for members’ bounces that Southgate can download.


Southgate, with a couple of top-10s on the tour in recent weeks, has leaked just three shots all week.

“It’s been pretty special stuff tee to green,” he cooed as he chases a maiden tour win. “Sunday could be one of those days when you could shoot five-under and win or eight-under and lose. You never know what’s going to happen here at the Old Course.”

Perez may be a Frenchman but he has lived in Dundee for the past 18 months. Obviously lured here by the new V&A and swanky waterfront then? Well, not quite.

“My girlfriend is at the dental school there,” said Perez after an eight-under 64 at Kingsbarns left him tied at the top going into the Old Course finale. “In the final group at the home of golf? What more can you ask for.”

Calum Hill stayed in the hunt on 15-under with a 70 at Carnoustie while fellow Scots, Richie Ramsay and Russell Knox, are just a shot behind.