| VIRGINIA WATER, England
VIRGINIA WATER, England May 26 'Luke, Luke'
cried the fans after Luke Donald took a two-shot lead in the PGA
Championship third round with a masterful display under a
scorching sun and swirling winds on Saturday.
The stretched-out chanting of his name sounds like booing
but is anything but.
"It's nice to have your own chant," said Donald (69) after
carding one of only three sub-70 rounds on a typically testing
Wentworth day to wind up with an 11-under tally of 205.
"I've never seen as many people in the crowd as this, even
at a British Open," he told reporters after a Saturday record
total of 25,176 watched the action at the intimidating West
Course just outside London.
Donald will grab the world number one ranking back from Rory
McIlroy if he retains the PGA title on Sunday that propelled him
to top spot for a long spell last year.
The Englishman spent 40 uninterrupted weeks at number one
from late May 2011 and also went on to become the first player
to win the orders of merit on both sides of the Atlantic.
The 34-year-old need only finish eighth on his own to usurp
McIlroy and although he has his critics because of an
unspectacular playing style, his method bore fruit on an
extremely tricky day for scoring.
"This is a tough place and it demands a huge amount of
patience," said Donald. "It's not necessarily geared towards the
Donald has been nicknamed 'Mr Plod' for the way he plots his
way round courses but there was nothing boring about his
majestic six-iron to 15 feet at the par-five fourth that left
fans open-jawed with admiration.
"That's a tough putt but I'm sure he'll make birdie,"
Donald's wife Diane said to a friend as she craned her neck for
a glimpse of the golf.
Her husband duly obliged and moments later he was top of the
leaderboard after overnight pacesetter James Morrison scored an
ugly eight at the same hole.
Donald's only blip came after an unlucky bounce off a
spectator at 15 where his ball deflected off a fan's leg into a
ditch, causing his solitary bogey of the day.
He was back to his best on the two closing par-five holes,
brilliantly saving par on the monstrous 17th before steering in
a birdie putt at the last.
Expect to hear the 'Luke, Luke' cries again on Sunday.
(Editing by Tony Jimenez)