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Donald takes aim at No. 1 spot

Luke Donald has finished in the top three each of the past two years at Harbour Town, in Hilton Head Island, S.C. “The last couple of years, I’ve come here playing reasonably well, where I’ve had control of the golf ball, which is very key at this place,” Donald said after taking the second-round lead.

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Luke Donald has finished in the top three each of the past two years at Harbour Town, in Hilton Head Island, S.C. “The last couple of years, I’ve come here playing reasonably well, where I’ve had control of the golf ball, which is very key at this place,” Donald said after taking the second-round lead.

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — Luke Donald moved a step closer to the No. 1 ranking Friday, shooting 6-under 65 to take the lead halfway through the Heritage.

Donald is ranked third behind No. 1 Martin Kaymer and Lee Westwood. Donald would jump to the top with a win at Harbour Town, no matter how Westwood fares this weekend at the Indonesian Masters.

Westwood had a one-stroke lead early today in Jakarta after the end of the second round. Kaymer isn't playing this week.

Donald hasn't let talk of No. 1 distract him through two rounds, finishing at 10-under 132 for a one-shot edge over first-round leader Garrett Willis (69).

Masters runnerup Jason Day (65), defending champion Jim Furyk (66), Camilo Villegas (68) and Chad Campbell (69) were 8 under. Ben Crane (66) and Ian Poulter (66) were three strokes behind Donald.

Donald, 33, was the highest ranked of seven players in the world's top 20 competing at what could be the last Heritage. The PGA Tour fixture seeks a title sponsor, something tour and event officials say is essential to maintaining its place on the schedule for 2012.

Donald could give the Heritage the boost it needs if he can claim No. 1.

"I guess it's always in the back of your mind," the Englishman said. "It's hard to get away from knowing that with Twitter and Facebook and the media and everything; you obviously know what's at stake."

Donald, who won the Match Play Championship in February, thinks he can focus on what got him to this point — steady, unflappable golf.

"I can control where I hit the golf ball, and hopefully, I'll give myself a good shot at it come Sunday," he said.

Donald has gradually found his game the past few seasons on Pete Dye's treacherous layout. Donald finished second two years ago then was third behind Furyk in 2010.

Donald began the round three shots behind Willis and quickly moved in front with five birdies on the front nine. After a bogey on the 10th, Donald moved in front again a hole later with a 20-foot birdie from the fringe. An 8-footer on the par-5 15th brought his final birdie, and he parred the rest of the way to break 70 for the eighth time in his past nine rounds in the event.

CHAMPIONS: Tom Kite and Gil Morgan shot 10-under 62 in better-ball play for a share of the first-round lead with Ted Schulz and Gary Hallberg at the Legends of Golf team event in Savannah, Ga.

Kite and Morgan birdied their first five holes.

"That was probably the key," Kite said. "In the past, we've been slow starters."

Schulz and Hallberg shot 30 on the back nine. The teams of Scott Hoch and Kenny Perry, Hal Sutton and Larry Mize, David Frost and Michael Allen and Sandy Lyle and Peter Senior opened with 63s.

WESTWOOD AT TOP: Lee Westwood birdied the final hole for 6-under 66 and a one-stroke lead at 10-under 134 after the completion of the suspended second round of the Indonesian Masters in Jakarta.

Donald takes aim at No. 1 spot 04/22/11 [Last modified: Saturday, April 23, 2011 12:03am]
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