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Donald more comfortable without No. 1 pressure

ESPN staff
March 19, 2013 « Scotland will not man-mark Bale | Chartbeat test »
Luke Donald hopes to be in contention at next month's Masters © Getty Images
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Luke Donald is not concerned by his recent world rankings drop, hoping it will enable him to play better at The Masters next month.

Donald was the world No. 1 for large parts of 2011 and 2012, but has recently fallen to No. 3 in the standings due to the superior results of Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods.

While disappointed that he is no longer considered the best player in the world, the Englishman is hopeful his new position will reduce the attention on him and enable him to play with more freedom at the majors.

"Naturally the whole point in being the best is to be No. 1, best player on the planet, and that is where I want to be too," Donald said. "But having said that, I have to agree that there is a little less pressure in being the No. 3 going into the Masters."

Donald has a decent record at Augusta National - claiming three top-ten finishes in the last decade, including a tied-fourth effort two years ago.

While he is yet to win in 2013, Donald believes his game is where it needs to be to have a chance of claiming the fabled green jacket.

"I am looking forward to [The Masters] and in recent weeks my game has come together well enough to give me confidence in doing well next month," he added.

Donald is playing in this week's Malaysian Open, the highest ranked player in the event. Spurning the more prestigious Arnold Palmer Invitational on the PGA Tour, Donald is happy to get another European Tour event under his belt as he looks to ensure he plays the minimum number of events required to maintain tour membership for 2014.

"I've struggled at Bay Hill [the host course of the Arnold Palmer]," said Donald. "I don't feel like the course suits my game very well. I've never played that well at Houston, don't know anything about Valero [and] certainly didn't want to take three weeks off before Augusta this year.

"It's nice to knock off a European event. It will save me having to do one at the end of the season. It just seemed like if I was going to fit one of these sort of overseas events, that was a decent week for me."

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