Luke Donald, playing captain? He’s not ready to go there, but he leads the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after day one

Is it too late for Luke Donald to declare himself a playing captain for the 2023 Ryder Cup in Rome?

If he continues to play the way he did Thursday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, that might be a decision he has to make later on this year.

“Playing here the last couple days I felt like there was some low scores out here as long as the wind didn’t blow too hard. It kinda suits my eye,” Donald said after his round at Yas Links.

Guess he was right.

Donald started strong with a birdie at the 10th, his first of the day. He’d go on to make three more birdies on his front side to turn in 4-under 32. The European Ryder Cup captain traded a birdie and a bogey on Nos. 2 and 3 (his 11th and 12th), before going on a run. Donald put circles on the card from Nos. 6-9 to come home in 32 for an 8-under 64 day one.

“I putted very nicely today, other than one three putt on the third hole for my only bogey. Made a couple long ones, but just was very tidy,” Donald said. “Maybe a little inspired by watching some good golf from last week (Hero Cup).

He was later asked about making his own Ryder Cup team.

“1975 was the last time that happened. We’re a long way from that.”

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Guido Migliozzi and Jason Scrivener are one shot behind Donald at 7 under while Seamus Power is at 6 under. Shane Lowry is at 5 under with the Molinari brothers and Tommy Fleetwood is one back of them at 4 under.

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek