Donald keeps his nose in front

European Tour

Englishman Luke Donald will take a narrow one-shot lead into the final round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa.

Donald tore up Sun City’s Gary Player Country Club in Friday’s second round, sinking nine birdies to take a two-shot lead overnight.

After four birdies in the first 10 holes of his third round on Saturday, the 36-year-old looked odds on to stretch that advantage even further, but he faltered somewhat coming home with bogeys at the 13th and 17th and had to settle for a three-under-par 69.

He was able to snatch a birdie at the last that gave him the outright lead on 13 under, however, with his countryman Danny Willett the man lurking just one shot behind.

“I’m pretty pleased with the score,” Donald said after his round. “I could have played a little bit more solid on the back nine, but to be honest, around this course, I think with a lead, shooting 69, that’s kind of what the game plan was, to go out and shoot a low round and keep myself ahead and in position for tomorrow.

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

Donald added: “I’m excited to be in that position again. That’s why we work hard and that’s why we practice so much, and I’m excited for the challenge tomorrow.

“It will be nice playing with some of my fellow compatriots, and we’ll have some fun out there.”

Willett was the form player of the third round, his seven-under 65 emerging as the lowest round of the day.

He picked up four birdies on the front nine and four more on the back, with his only blemish coming at the par-four 13th.

Ross Fisher lies in third on 10 under, three shots off the pace, after a second successive 70.

With Germany’s Marcel Siem a full five shots further back in fourth, Sunday’s final round is looking like a three-way shoot-out between Englishmen Donald, Willett and Fisher.

“Tomorrow is going to be a big day,” said Fisher. “I just need to go out and play how I’ve been playing the first three days and how I putted on the first day.

“If I do that, I feel like I’ve got a really good chance of winning it.”

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