Donaldson leads at Sun City
Jamie Donaldson (Gallo Images)
Sun City - Jamie Donaldson seized control at the halfway mark of the 33rd Nedbank Golf Challenge as seven birdies steered him to a second-round 66 and a three-stroke lead at an overcast Gary Player Country Club in the Pilanesburg on Friday.
On a morning where tributes poured in for former president Nelson Mandela, the Welshman returned to his marker at 07:30 and completed an opening round of 67. By the end of the day Donaldson reached 11 under par, three clear of American Ryan Moore (65) and 2008 champion Henrik Stenson (67).
Defending champion Martin Kaymer lies a further stroke adrift at seven under after firing an impressive 66, and he shares fourth place with Denmark's Thomas Bjorn (70).
The next nine players are separated by just one shot, leaving the event well poised for an intriguing third round.
A minute's silence was observed in Madiba's honour shortly before the players resumed their first round at 7:30am, and it was Spaniard Sergio Garcia who made the first move. A flurry of birdies saw him surpass overnight leader Luke Donald with a 66 to establish a one-stoke first-round lead.
However, his advantage was short-lived, as Donaldson, after a brief stop for breakfast, raced ahead with three birdies in the first four holes of his second round.
Further birdies at the eighth and ninth holes closed out a first nine of 31, and the setback of a bogey at the 10th proved to be a mere blip as birdies at the 13th and 14th restored the daylight between himself and the chasing pack.
For much of the afternoon it appeared that Donaldson would go unchallenged, but it was Moore who emerged from the relative doldrums of an opening-round 71 to mount a charge.
Four birdies in the space of five holes around the turn saw him fly up the leaderboard, and further red numbers at the 13th and 14th helped him stake a claim for sole possession of second place at eight under par.
However, the ominous presence of Stenson inevitably has the players looking over the shoulders, and the Swede began to demonstrate his prowess with a steady flow of birdies. He drew level with Moore after a fine approach at the 17th hole set up a birdie, and he signed for a bogey-free 67 to ensure that Donaldson remains in his sights.
Both Kaymer and Bjorn, who were in the final threeball, hit superb approaches to the 18th and moved themselves out of the group at six under - one that includes South Africa's Charl Schwartzel (70), who kept himself in the hunt with a chip-in birdie on the 18th hole. He shares sixth place with DA Points (67) and Brendon de Jonge (68).
Garcia could only manage a 73 in the afternoon, and finds himself at five under in a group of six players that also features Pretoria's Darren Fichardt (68).
Round two scores from the Nedbank Golf Challenge played at the Gary Player country club in Sun City on Friday.
133 - Jamie Donaldson (WAL) 67 66
136 - Ryan Moore (USA) 71 65, Henrik Stenson 69 67
137 - Thomas Bjorn (DEN) 67 70, Martin Kaymer 71 66
138 - DA Points (USA) 71 67, Brendon de Jonge (ZIM) 70 68, Charl Schwartzel 68 70
139 - Luke Donald (ENG) 68 71, Darren Fichardt 71 68, Thongchai Jaidee (THA) 69 70, SergioGarcia (ESP) 66 73, Peter Uihlein (USA) 70 69, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (ESP) 67 72
140 - Justin Rose (ENG) 73 67
142 - Joost Luiten (NED) 74 68
143 - Louis Oosthuizen 74 69
144 - David Lynn (ENG) 73 71
145 - Victor Dubuisson (FRA) 73 72
146 - Francesco Molinari (ITA) 76 70, Matteo Manassero (ITA) 72 74, Richard Sterne 73 73, Ernie Els 75 71, Branden Grace 75 71, Kevin Streelman (USA) 75 71
147 - Thaworn Wiratchant (THA) 71 76, Gary Woodland (USA) 74 73, Morten Orum Madsen (DEN) 76 71
148 - Peter Senior (AUS) 80 68
149 - Dawie van der Walt 77 72