Luke Donald aiming for 499 puts out of 500

In short, Donald is supreme: Golfer closes in on almost-perfect putting milestone

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 22 November 2012

Last year, Luke Donald went 449 holes without a three-putt. This year’s amazing illustration of the Englishman’s prowess on the greens isn’t bad either.

Sometime on Friday, if all goes to plan at the Dubai World Championship, Donald will complete 500 putts inside 3ft, with 499 of them successfully holed.

Think about that for a second. All those putts of smelly length on devilishly fast greens with the flags usually located in mischievous spots. And he has missed just one

How about that Luke Donald is close to an astonishing 499 out of 500 holes putted within 3ft

How about that Luke Donald is close to an astonishing 499 out of 500 holes putted within 3ft

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‘One of the things that both those stats
show is how hard I’ve worked on my lag (long) putting, and making sure I
don’t leave myself too many difficult second putts,’ he said.

It is not only from short distance
that Donald is so good, of course. Give him greens as pure as these at
the Earth course and he will invariably hole more than his fair share
from any distance.

Out in front: Donald is the leader after round one of the DP World Tour Championship

Out in front: Donald is the leader after round one of the DP World Tour Championship

That was certainly the case on Thursday
as he followed up the three 66s with which he finished last year’s
event with a 65 to take the first-round lead.

This time last year Donald was fending
off Rory McIlroy to clinch the Race to Dubai.

That title has already
been sewn up this time by the latter, of course, but given the form of
the world’s top two there must be a chance of a thrilling duel on Sunday
for the other trophy on offer here, after McIlroy opened with a fairly
effortless 66 to be tied second with Scot Marc Warren and Spaniard
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano.

Strolling: Donald (right) Francesco Molinari of Italy walk to the 17th green

Strolling: Donald (right) Francesco Molinari of Italy walk to the 17th green

As for the rest of the Ryder Cuppers,
Lee Westwood shot a useful 67 with Justin Rose and Nicolas Colsaerts a
further stroke behind. Ian Poulter, however, could only manage a 72.
His reponse: ‘Completely disgusted with myself, I’ve finally hit the
wall and jetlag has hit me for six.’

Finally, as for the answer to the day’s big question… Donald’s miss came on the 12th hole during The Open at Lytham.