Luke Donald goes low to take Nedbank lead
Ireland’s Shane Lowry 10 shots off the pace after another round of 72 in Sun City
Luke Donald of England waits to play into the 17th green during the second round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City, South Africa. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
The Englishman had an average opening day on Thursday, shooting a one-under par round of 71, but showed the class which saw him top the world rankings in 2011 as he carded a nine-under-par 63 to head into the weekend two shots clear of the field.
Donald (34) made six birdies on the front nine and added three on the back without dropping a shot throughout. That was enough to see him move clear of compatriot Ross Fisher, who had held the overnight lead heading into Friday’s play at at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City.
Ireland’s Shane Lowry was level par, 10 shots off the lead, after his second 72 of the week.
“It’s been a while since I’ve gone really low,” Donald told europeantour.com. “I’ve been seeing some signs of a lot of improvement in the last few weeks and some lower rounds in the mid to high 60s, but obviously nine birdies around this place is a great round and something I was very pleased with.
“I felt very in control. It’s been a while since I felt like that. Everything starts for me when I can feel like I can drive it in the fairway and then give myself some opportunities, and obviously when the putter is warm it’s always one of my best weapons in the bag.”
Despite losing the lead, Fisher stayed in contention with a round of 70 and now sits two behind Donald - with the same gap back to Frenchman Alexander Levy.
“I don’t feel I played as solidly as yesterday,” Fisher said of his second-round effort. “I didn’t hit it as well off the tee. It would have been nice to have picked up a couple coming in, but six under yesterday and two under today, it’s moving in the right direction and I’m only two shots behind with two rounds to go.
“Yesterday we read the greens really well but today we over-read them. I had seven or eight putts that I hit exactly where I wanted to, but I over-read the borrow. Hopefully tomorrow they will go in again.”
Collated scores after the second round in Sun City (Irish in bold)
134 Luke Donald 71 63
136 Ross Fisher 66 70
138 Alexander Levy (Fra) 68 70
139 Danny Willett 71 68
140 Marcel Siem (Ger) 68 72
141 Charl Schwartzel (Rsa) 70 71, Brendon Todd (USA) 73 68, Tommy Fleetwood 74 67, Tim Clark (Rsa) 70 71, Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) 71 70
144 Brooks Koepka (USA) 70 74, Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa) 70 74, Shane
Lowry 72 72, Jonas Blixt (Swe) 71 73, Pablo Larrazabal (Spa) 73 71
145 Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha) 72 73, Dawie Van Der Walt (Rsa) 73 72
146 Joost Luiten (Ned) 72 74
148 Marc Warren 75 73
149 Jaco Ahlers (Rsa) 74 75, Martin Kaymer (Ger) 74 75
150 Kevin Na (USA) 77 73
152 Thomas Bjorn (Den) 80 72
154 Mikko Ilonen (Fin) 76 78
155 Danie Van Tonder (Rsa) 77 78