Donald holds on to lead

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Luke Donald recovered from a poor start to take a slender one-shot lead into the final round The Heritage at Hilton Head.

Luke Donald recovered from a poor start to take a slender one-shot lead into the final round The Heritage at Hilton Head.

If he manages to hold on on Sunday and take the win, he will elevate himself into the top spot on the world rankings above both Martin Kaymer and Lee Westwood. But with the likes of Jim Furyk lying only one shot behind, a victory is still far from a formality.

Things started in the worst possible way for Donald on Saturday, as a fairly innocuous par on the first made way for a double bogey on the second.

Birdies at five and seven steadied the ship, and a bogey at eight followed by another birdie at nine kept his account in the black – just about.

He managed to steady the ship with a series of solid pars on the back nine, while a solitary birdie on 16 handed him a 70 and a slender advantage heading into the final round.

“Obviously I got off to a pretty slow start, making 7 on 2,” said the 33-year-old Englishman.

“I’m giving up two or three shots on that hole to the field.

“It wasn’t really a terrible shot, I just pulled it slightly, it got a kick and if that ball stays a couple of yards inbounds it’s an easy up-and-down for birdie.

“I dug deep. Made some good birdies. It was tougher today, the wind was more of a factor, the greens are getting firmer and crustier. And I was pleased with bringing it back after that slow start.”

Furyk, the defending champion, had managed to grab the lead during Donald’s eventful front nine, but two bogeys on the back nine saw him relinquish it once more.

Prior to that, birdies at three and five saw him take the top spot, and though his first bogey at 12 was followed by two more birdies at 13 and 15, his final bogey of the day on 18 gave him a 69 and crucially saw Donald back in front.

“I think I’m there, I’m in position and when I play well I feel like this golf course really suits my game,” Furyk said.

A further shot behind Furyk are Zimbabwe’s Brendon de Jonge and American Scott Verplank, who shot a 67.

Ricky Barnes, Tommy Gainey and Australia’s Jason Day are in a tie for fifth one shot back. Day had a disappointing day thanks to a trio of bogeys on 10, 11 and 12. He eventually carded a 71.

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