Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald hits WRONG BALL in Italian Open second round

Luke Donald is well-placed to contend for his first DP World Tour title in 10 years at the DS Automobiles Italian Open after a second-round 68.

Matt Chivers's picture
Sat, 17 Sep 2022
Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald hits WRONG BALL in Italian Open second round

European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald rolled back the years on Friday at the DS Automobiles Italian Open, carding a 68 to move to within four shots of Rory McIlroy.

The Englishman made eight birdies in the second round at Marco Simone Golf Club, but after his round, Donald admitted he'd done something he had never done before in his professional career. He explained:

"I did something I don't think I've ever done in golf. I hit the wrong ball on 16, which was frustrating," he began.

"I hit a poor tee shot left in the rough. The spotter kind of went straight to the ball and I just assumed it was mine and mine was a few feet left of it. Yeah, it was a costly 7. But I made a lot of birdies out there and hit a lot of good shots and, overall, pretty pleased with my game."

The 44-year-old incurred a two-shot penalty for playing the wrong ball and the triple-bogey makes you think about what could've been. Nonetheless, he will tee off at 12.10 this afternoon with Joost Luiten and Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez on an exciting Saturday.

Despite impressive scoring all around, Marco Simone in Rome has proved a tough test this week. There is thick rough and tight fairways which is how Ryder Cup Europe intends to set it up in their favour when America come calling next year.

The captaincy was passed on to Donald after Henrik Stenson lost the role for moving to the LIV Golf Invitational Series. Donald and his team raised some eyebrows when it was announced he would have six captain's picks this time around.

McIlroy, who has played in the Ryder Cup six times for Europe, described the rough as a "jungle." Team Europe will need every advantage possible if they are to turn the tables on their 19-9 defeat in 2021 at Whistling Straits.

"We want to put a premium on hitting the fairways. I don't think it will be too much different, a couple of fairway lines might be even a little bit tighter," Donald said.

"The rough here, it's a different type of grass. It's kind of a thick blade, so it doesn't need to be too heavy to make it tough. But it won't be too different. We obviously want to play similar conditions to what we played this year."