Luke Donald melts down on Merion front nine

12:34, Jun 15 2013
Luke Donald
Luke Donald, still chasing his first major victory, speaks to the media following a practice round at Merion.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods plays a shot through the rain to the green during a practice round.
Jose Maria Olazabal and Sergio Garcia
Spaniards Jose Maria Olazabal and Sergio Garcia hug during a practice round ahead of the 113th US Open.
USGA flags
USGA flags flutter in the breeze at Merion Golf Club, outside Philadelphia.
Merion Golf Club
The Merion Golf Club, outside Philadelphia, will host the 113th US Open.
Merion Golf Club
Three spectators walk past a pool of water during Monday's practice round at Merion.
Merion Golf Club
Grounds crew squeegee water off the sixth fairway during a downpour in Monday's practice round.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods holds two golf balls during a practice round ahead of the US Open.
Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods
Golfing legends Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods chat at the Merion Golf Club.
Lee Westwood
Lee Westwood of England plays out of a bunker during a practice round at Merion.
Rory McIlroy
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy signs autographs during his practice round.
Merion Golf Club
The grandstands sit empty during a weather delay during the first round of the US Open at Merion
Sergio Garcia
Sergio Garcia searches for his ball in the rough during the final practice round.
Sergio Garcia
Sergio Garcia discusses a shot with his caddie during the first round.
Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson takes a chunk of grass out with his second shot from the 12th fairway.
Bubba Watson and Rickie Fowler
Bubba Watson (left) and Rickie Fowler wait at the clubhouse during the weather delay.
Weather warning
The sign on the scoreboard tells the story as weather dominated the first morning at the US Open.
2013 US Open at Merion
Lee Westwood of England watches his tee shot on the 11th hole as Luke Donald of England looks on during Round One of the 113th US Open.
2013 US Open at Merion
Tiger Woods of the United States plays his third shot from a bunker on the second hole during Round One of the 113th US Open.
2013 US Open at Merion
Sergio Garcia of Spain walks off the tenth hole after finishing thre over par during Round One of the 113th US Open at Merion Golf Club.
2013 US Open at Merion
Robert Karlsson of Sweden hits a shot from a bunker on the 14th hole during Round One of the 113th US Open at Merion Golf Club.
2013 US Open at Merion
Tiger Woods reacts to missing a putt on the fourth green during the first round of the 2013 US Open.
Luke Donald
Luke Donald receives some instructions from his caddie John McLaren as he finishes his first round at Merion.
Steve Williams and Tiger Woods
Caddie Steve Williams (left) shakes hands with his former boss Tiger Woods at the conclusion of the first round.
Kevin Streelman
Kevin Streelman stretches with his driver on the fifth hole tee box.
US Open spectators
Umbrella-carrying US Open spectators leave the course after play was suspended during the opening round.
Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott
The US Open's power threesome of Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott.
Adam Scott
Masters champion Adam Scott tees off on the ninth hole at Merion.
US Open officials
US Open officials search in the rough for a ball hit by Angel Cabrera.
US Open spectators
US Open spectators eye players down the fairway during the second round.
Hideki Matsuyama
Japan golfer Hideki Matsuyama discusses tactics with his caddie.
Wicker basket flag
A caddie holds a flagstick with the famed Merion wicker basket atop it.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods
US Open 2013 gallery
Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods walk up the 10th fairway together during the second round.
US Open 2013 gallery
Billy Horschel shares the lead with Phil Mickelson after two days play at the US Open.
US Open 2013 gallery
Phil Mickelson is all smiles after his second round score gave him a share of the lead.
Merion Golf Club
The scene at the 17th green at Merion Golf Club during the 113th US Open.
Steve Stricker
Steve Stricker leans on his putter as he reads the line of a putt during the second round.
Ian Poulter
Ian Poulter walks down the steps from the 17th tee to the green at Merion.
Cheng-Tsung Pan
Taiwan's Cheng-Tsung Pan plays from the bunker at the 15th hole.
US Open at Merion gallery
Charl Schwartzel held the lead at the halfway point in the third round.
US Open gallery 2013
Luke Donald unleashes a tee shot during the third round.
US Open 2013 gallery
Phil Mickelson and caddie Jim Mackay survey the scene on the fifth hole at Merion.
US Open 2013 gallery
Tiger Woods fired a six-over 76 in the third round.
US Open 2013 gallery
Hunter Mahan plays a shot from the fairway on the first hole of the final round.
US Open 2013 gallery
Australia's Jason Day reacts after missing a putt on the 15th hole.
US Open 2013 gallery
Billy Horschel plays a tee shot on the second hole in his final round.
US Open 2013 gallery
Phil Mickelson jumps for joy after holing out for eagle on the 10th hole.
US Open gallery 2013
2013 US Open champion Justin Rose.
US Open 2013 gallery
Justin Rose with the US Open trophy.
US Open 2013 gallery
Justin Rose points skywards to acknowledge his late father after holing out for par on the 18th green.

Luke Donald holed out a chip for birdie on the short par-3 13th to reach 4 under and top the leaderboard in the US Open.

Not for long as h e bogeyed holes 4 through 7. Donald was at 4-under on day one before play was suspended, and finished with a 2-under 68. After struggling early in his second round he had birdies at 9, 12 and 13 to post a 72 in the second round to leave him even par for the tournament.

"The greens have been tricky to read all week," he said. "They seem to be breaking a little bit more than I'm seeing, hence a couple of lip outs. But you try not to panic in US Opens."

Donald, playing in his 10th US Open, has never won a major. The former world No 1 played a pair of practice rounds last week at Merion to get used to the course. He even posed for a photo with David Graham, winner of the 1981 US Open at Merion.

"I asked him, 'What's the secret?"' Donald said. "And he said, 'Keep it in the short stuff.' Most of us know that and it's all about doing it."

The 35-year-old Donald failed to make the cut last year in the US Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco because of putting failures. He has never finished better than 12th in an Open (2006) and missed the cut three times since his 2002 debut. He was 45th in 2011 and 47th in 2010.

Donald and Lee Westwood are the only players to be No 1 without having won a major.

He's glad to at least be in the hunt this year.

"I haven't played very well, but when I saw this place last week, I thought it was a good fit for my game," he said. "It's nice to come here and feel like I'm swinging pretty well and I've got a chance. So, hopefully, I can throw a good one in tomorrow and really be in the mix come Sunday."

DOUBLE DIP

Carl Pettersson saw double on No 5.

Pettersson had to check his backswing after an errant shot from No 2 rolled his way and smacked his ball off its spot. Pettersson stopped his swing and backed off the ball, chuckling at the truly bizarre shot.

The wayward ball came from Brandon Crick. He had to hit from where the ball landed.

Pettersson placed the ball at its original spot. He probably wished his ball was whacked into the cup - he had a bogey on the par-5 hole.

"Luckily, I wasn't in my downswing, because if I would have missed the ball, it would have been, I don't know what the ruling would have been on that," he said. "But it might not have been good. I regripped and hit a decent shot after that."

LAWRIE HONOUR 

Paul Lawrie fought back with a 71 and feared he would miss the cut. The day wasn't a total loss. Hours later, the former British Open champion was among those selected for the Order of the British Empire in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

More that his performance on the course, the Scot was recognised for his foundation that helps pay for kids to get into sport. It started with golf and now includes football, rugby and some tennis.

"I wanted to do it before I won the Open, but I didn't think I was a big enough name and didn't think sponsors would be interested or the kids would want to participate in the events," Lawrie said. "All of a sudden, I win the Open. It's getting pretty big and growing every year, but I have to say a lot of people do a lot of good work."

Lawrie holds the major championship record for the largest comeback in the final round, making up 10 shots in the final round at Carnoustie in 1999, and beating Jean Van de Velde and Justin Leonard in a playoff.

"It's a huge honor," Lawrie said.

LOCAL FAVOURITE 

Jim Furyk had the home crowd on his side, but he just failed to deliver a performance worth cheering for in the second round.

Furyk, born in the nearby Philadelphia suburb of West Chester and raised in Lancaster, shot a 9-over 79. Furyk, the 2003 US Open champion, won't be adding a second one to the collection. He hadn't played Merion Golf Club since the 1989 USAmateur.

"It showed," he said. "I didn't do a great job with my prep. I felt like I was ready coming here but I played very poorly. It was probably my last putting performance in the last three or four years."

For years, Furyk hosted the one-day Exelon Invitational at various stops throughout the state. His event was the only professional golf even that the Philadelphia area had on a yearly basis.

He hasn't held the informal exhibition since 2009 and doesn't expect it to return. And he doesn't know when he'll play again in the area.

"I never really played well at the tournaments here," he said. "It's a bummer. I crossed the state at Oakmont for a couple of championships. At 43, there's not going to be another tournament here at Merion."

OOVER AND OOST 

Louis Oosthuizen withdrew from the US Open with a hip injury.

The 2010 British Open champion strained a hip flexor while shooting a 5-over 75 in the first round and pulled out before his second round tee time.

Oosthuizen said the problem affected his swing to the point that he was advised he risked further damage if he kept playing.

The South African's best finish at the US Open came in 2011, when he tied for ninth.

DIVOTS 

Stuck in the mud: Tiger Woods' ski-champion girlfriend Lindsey Vonn had to trek through the mud at Merion like any other fan. 

"Sums up my day on the golf course... #muddy #usopen2013," she wrote on Twitter. The tweet went along with a photo of her from the knees down standing ankle-deep in the soupy muck. 

She later posted a Vine video of various muddy shoes and boots around the course. "Muddy shoes... Best and worst so far. #whatweretheythinking."

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Luke Donald
PUTTER STRUGGLES: Luke Donald made five bogeys on the front nine in his second round.

AP