With the leaderboard so tightly packed heading into the final round of the U.S. Open, heartbreak was almost guaranteed.
Of course, Phil Mickelson took the brunt of the punishment, once again, extending his own record with his sixth runner-up at the Open.
But Luke Donald didn’t emerge unscathed, either.
The Englishman held the lead early in the championship, which is no small achievement for the former world No. 1 who is still chasing that elusive first major. But in the third round, he stumbled late to go from the outright lead to two shots back. He was no better on the final day, memorably plunking a volunteer with a tee shot and shooting 75 to drop all the way into a tie for eighth at Merion.
“You always walk away disappointed when you have a chance,” he told The Guardian on Wednesday. “But at the same time, I left with a lot of encouragement. … This was the first time I put myself in a position at the U.S. Open to contend.
“There were certainly a lot of benefits, and I just think Adam (Scott) winning at Augusta this year, added to seeing Justin (Rose) win at the U.S. Open, those are guys who have had a similar career path to me,” he continued. “It certainly gives me hope that my turn is coming soon. I think I am starting to put myself in better position.”
Looking ahead to the year’s third major, Donald has overcome a rocky start to his Open career by posting three top-11 finishes in his last four starts.