Open 2015: Jamie Donaldson confident he is Open 'contender'

By Dafydd PritchardBBC Wales Sport at St Andrews
Jamie Donaldson
Jamie Donaldson was born in Pontypridd
144th Open Championship
Venue: St Andrews Dates: 16-19 July
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Wales' Jamie Donaldson believes he can be among the leading contenders in this week's Open at St Andrews.

Masters and US Open champion Jordan Spieth and Scottish Open winner Rickie Fowler are among the favourites for the tournament, which starts on Thursday.

And although he has never finished higher than 32nd at an Open, Donaldson is confident about his chances.

"It's just a case of me not getting in my own way. I'm here to contend to win the Open," the 39-year-old said.

Keegan Bradley
Keegan Bradley won the 2011 PGA Championship

"I've found something on the range over the last few weeks so it's starting to come together now."

Donaldson has been drawn alongside 2014 Ryder Cup opponent Keegan Bradley and Japan's Yuta Ikeda for Thursday's opening round.

Donaldson beat Bradley 4&3 in September's Ryder Cup to seal victory for Europe against the United States.

Bradley says his Welsh counterpart "whupped" him on that occasion, though Donaldson does not believe their Gleneagles duel will have a bearing on their performances at the Open.

"Keegan is a great lad and a very good player, it was just my day," Donaldson told BBC Wales Sport.

"I played great all week and it was a wonderful week, and I'll have fond memories of that forever.

"But that was last September and now we're here at the Open, so it's a case of getting my head down, working hard and getting the ball rolling on the greens.

"Even though the Ryder Cup is played under enormous intensity, now it's a case of everyone afterwards having a few beers and you get on with life."

Donaldson's best display at a major came at the 2012 US PGA Championship, where he finished seventh.

The Welshman has since won two of his three career European Tour titles and established himself as a regular in the top 40 of the world rankings.

He prepared for this year's Open by finishing five under par at the Scottish Open, seven shots behind champion Fowler.

"It wasn't bad. There was a lot of rubbish there we needed to iron out," Donaldson added.

"As the week progressed it started to get better. I'm here looking for a big week."