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RBC Canadian Open

Donald sets early pace

Englishman enjoys blemish-free opening day at Palm Beach

Last Updated: 01/03/08 3:59pm

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Donald: bogey-free

Donald: bogey-free

Sky Bet

England's Luke Donald leads the Honda Classic by one stroke at six-under-par after the opening round.

Donald, who last won at this tournament two years ago, came home in just 31 strokes for a round of 64.

Successive birdies at the third and fourth allowed the Hertfordshire golfer to reach the turn at two-under.

He then picked up further strokes at the 10th, 13th, 15th and 18th during a bogey-free 18 holes.

"I really played pretty consistently throughout the day - I did a lot of good things around the greens and when I had my chances I took them," said Donald.

"I need to improve my driving, though. I probably hit only half the fairways.

"The rough is a little bit thinner than it was last year. It's still thickish in places, but also the course is playing a bit softer than it was last year, so you can be aggressive at some pins."

Davis leads chasing pack

Donald's fellow Englishman Brian Davis is alone in second place, one behind at five-under.

Australia's Matt Jones is in third at four-under, while Ernie Els is part of a five-man group one further back.

His round of 67 was a welcome boost for Els, who was beaten in the first round of last week's WGC Matchplay in Arizona.

"I was a little nervy this morning to force myself to get off to a good start and I've had that now, so I can start building on that," said the South African.

"I'm really pleased with the way things turned out. I felt pretty comfortable out there."

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