x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Water fortune helps inspire Donaldson to lead

Jamie Donaldson bounced out of water with his second shot of the day and went on to record a seven-under-par 65 and take a first round lead at the Madrid Masters.

Jamie Donaldson bounced out of water with his second shot of the day and went on to record a seven-under-par 65 and take a first round lead at the Madrid Masters yesterday. The 34-year-old Welshman, who is still to win on the European Tour after 200 events, did not drop a stroke in establishing an early one-stroke lead over Sweden's Niclas Fasth at Real Sociedad. But it could have all been so different.

"I got lucky," said Donaldson, thinking back to the long par-five 10th, his opening hole. "It pitched in the water and bounced out on to the fringe." He chipped to six feet and made the first of seven birdies on a course where he does not rule out the possibility of the Tour's first ever 59 this week. Meanwhile, Tiger Woods will return to the PGA Tour to defend his title at next week's Memorial tournament in Dublin, Ohio, the American world No 1 has confirmed.

The 14-time major champion has not competed since he was forced to withdraw from the final round of this month's Players Championship in Florida because of neck pain. "The doctors advised me to take a week off and rest, which I did," Woods said in a statement on his official website. "They prescribed physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medication and soft-tissue messages, which I'm continuing with."

Woods, committed to the June 17-20 US Open at Pebble Beach, said he resumed normal practice sessions last week after healing an inflamed facet joint. * Agencies