Sunshine Tour

Donald takes early lead

2013-12-05 22:19
Luke Donald (Gallo Images)
Sun City – Luke Donald had the early lead at five-under-par in the first round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge when the weather halted proceedings on Thursday at the Gary Player Country Club.

The former world number one got off to a hot start when he followed a birdie at the first with an eagle at the par-five second. He stretched out a two-shot lead over Jamie Donaldson and Thomas Bjorn before thunderstorms forced an initial delay at 12:12 that lasted until 3pm.

“Lovely start,” said Donald. “It doesn’t get much better than three-three around here. Birdie-eagle and all of a sudden you are three under par through two holes. I played solid for those first 11 holes and hit a couple of very nice shots in that time that I was able to take advantage of. I feel good over the ball right now and I am playing with confidence.”

Unfazed by the delay, Donald picked up where he left off with a par at the seventh and then birdied the eighth and ninth for a 31-stroke outward nine.

“I also have to say that the putting came back in Dubai and Japan. That had been a little off for most of the year so it was very encouraging to get that back and I am feeling good about my game right now,” he said.

Pars at 10 and 11 left the seven-time European Tour winner high and dry when further storms forced a suspension in play at 4.18pm. The round will resume at 7.30 on Friday morning, while the second round is due to start as scheduled at 10.10am.

“We usually get some smaller delays here but today was a bit more than usual. But we’ll just come back and do it again tomorrow,” Donald said.

Darren Fichardt led the local charge with a one-under total after 11 holes, while Zimbabwe’s Brendon de Jonge holed out at the ninth from 101 metres with a 54 degree wedge for a move to three-under.

SCORES (RSA unless specified):
-5 - Luke Donald (ENG) [11]
-3 - Jamie Donaldson (WAL) [12], Thomas Bjorn (DEN) [6], Brendon de Jonge (ZIM) [9]
-2 - Martin Kaymer [6]
-1 - Darren Fichardt [11], Thongchai Jaidee (THA) [10], Sergio Garcia (ESP) [9],  Charl Schwartzel [8], Peter Uihlein (USA) [7], Gonzalo Fdez-Castano (ESP) [7], Henrik Stenson [7]
Par - Francesco Molinari (ITA) [12], Matteo Manassero (ITA) [12], Louis Oosthuizen [10], Richard Sterne [9], Victor Dubuisson (FRA) [8]
+1 - Joost Luiten (NED) [11], Ryan Moore (USA) [8], Kevin Streelman (USA) [6]
+2 - DA Points (USA) [9], Gary Woodland (USA) [8], Branden Grace [7], Morten Orum Madsen (DEN) [7]
+3 - David Lynn (ENG) [12], Thaworn Wiratchant (THA) [12], Ernie Els [7]
+4 - Dawie Van der Walt [12], Justin Rose (ENG) [8]
+8 - Peter Senior (AUS) [10]


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk


Who will win the 2016 edition of the Ryder Cup?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.