Donald calm after weekend slump

21 February 2012 07:09:14 EST

World number one Luke Donald has insisted that he remains in good heart as he prepares to defend his WGC Accenture Match Play Championship title.

Donald, making his first appearance in a PGA Tour event this year, had played solidly in the first three rounds of the Northern Trust Open at Riviera, only to fall apart on Sunday as he slumped to a closing round 78.

I have a pretty good matchplay record, but you just never know with that format.

Luke Donald

The Englishman's round included six bogeys in a row and his putting, normally one of the strengths of his game, was a shadow of its usual self as he struggled on the tricky Poa Annua greens.

But Donald says he is not too worried about how he fared in only his second tournament of 2012 and is happy with the way he is hitting the ball approaching this week's event.

He told Reuters: "I got on a bad run (at Riviera) but there were a lot of good shots in those bogeys.

"It's just one of those courses where you can be a little bit off and get on the wrong side of things. But I am reasonably positive with the way I am hitting it.

"Compared to this time last year, I feel like I have more control - I am shaping the ball a little bit better."

Donald swept all before him last year's Accenture Match Play before defeating European Ryder Cup team-mate Martin Kaymer in the final.

The 34-year-old, who faces Ernie Els in the first round, is relishing the prospect of returning to Dove Mountain, but would not be drawn into making any predictions for the coming week.

He added: "I certainly have good feelings going back to Dove Mountain and I love matchplay. I have a pretty good matchplay record, but you just never know with that format."

Donald is 16/1 to defend his title successfully, with Kaymer 22/1 to go one better than last year, while Rory McIlroy is priced at 12/5.

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