US Tour: Donald targets Valspar success

Former winner has excellent record on Copperhead Course

Luke Donald has an excellent record at teh Copperhead Course in Doral, Florida. Photograph:  Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Luke Donald has an excellent record at teh Copperhead Course in Doral, Florida. Photograph: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images


The tournament may have a new name for the third year in succession, but Luke Donald will hope that is the only thing that has changed at Innisbrook this week.

Donald has an excellent record on the Copperhead Course which hosts the Valspar Championship, an event known as the Tampa Bay Championship last year and the Transitions Championship before that.

The former world number one lifted the title in 2012 and was also sixth in 2010 and fourth last year, and will be in good company for the first two rounds today and tomorrow.

Donald has been paired with defending champion Kevin Streelman and 2011 winner Gary Woodland as he looks to build on some encouraging form in his last two starts.

The 36-year-old was eighth at the Honda Classic and 25th in last week’s WGC-Cadillac Championship, where a second round of 82 in Friday’s bad weather ruined his chances of victory at Doral.

Donald has slipped to 25th in the world as he overhauls his long game with new coach Chuck Cook – who also coaches US PGA winner Jason Dufner.

Pádraig Harrington, the 42-year-old three-time Major champion, is back for a stint Stateside which is kick-started by this tournament in Florida but which will also include next week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.

The invitation from Palmer is a help to Harrington as he desperately tries to claim a place in the field for next month’s US Masters at Augusta.

Former British Open champion Darren Clarke makes his debut in the event.

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