Luke Donald holds off Danny Willett to keep lead in South Africa

Birdie at last gives Donald a one-shot lead after third round

 Luke Donald  plays his approach shot to the sixth green during the third round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City, South Africa. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Luke Donald plays his approach shot to the sixth green during the third round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City, South Africa. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

 

Luke Donald maintained his place at the top of the leaderboard after the third round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge, but compatriot Danny Willett was hot on his heels.

Donald carded a three-under-par 69 to move on to 13 under for the tournament, but only a birdie at the last prevented him having to settle for a share of the lead.

Willett produced a blistering round of 65, which featured eight birdies and a bogey, to sit on 12 under.

Ross Fisher made it three Englishman leading the way at the event in Sun City, South Africa, carding a 70 to find himself three shots off the pace.

Donald, who on Friday had to duck out of the way of a baboon which had wandered on to the fairway, went through the first 10 holes in four under, but bogeys at the 13th and 17th slowed his progress before he picked up another shot at the 18th.

Germany’s Marcel Siem sat fourth, but on five under, eight shots behind Donald, suggesting it will be the three Englishmen who will battle it out for the title on Sunday.

Shane Lowry carded a one-under 71 in his third round and is one under for the tournament and in a share of 13th place.

Donald, who shot a 63 on Friday, said on the European tour website of his 69: “Pretty pleased with the score. I could have played a little bit more solid on the back nine, but to be honest round this course I think, with the lead, shooting 69, that’s kind of what the game plan was – to go out there and shoot a solid round, try and keep my nose ahead and put myself in a good position for tomorrow.

“I did that, I thought I felt pretty calm out there and it was nice to finish with a three.

“This is as pleased as I’ve been with my game for a while.

“The last year and a half have been very tough, I haven’t really given myself many chances. I won just over a year ago in Japan, but I really haven’t put myself in position very often in that last year.

“I am excited to be in that position again, that’s why we work hard, that’s why we practise so much. I’m excited for the challenge tomorrow.”

Donald was also pleased to avoid further confrontations with the local wildlife, adding: “No baboons today fortunately. I didn’t have to hop, skip and jump out the way like I did yesterday.”

Louis Oosthuizen led the South Africa challenge on four under, in a tie for fifth place with Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee.

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