Donald takes charge at Sun City

European Tour

Luke Donald’s second round birdie blitz saw him take a two-shot lead at the Nedbank Challenge on Friday.

The Englishman followed up his opening-round 71 with a sparkling 63 that featured an incredible nine birdies – including six on the front nine – in a bogey-free round to take his total to 10 under par.

Donald came close to birdying the last as well, which would have given him the new course record, but he’ll certainly settle for what he did manage to achieve.

“It’s been a while since I’ve gone really low,” said the 36-year-old. “I’ve been seeing some signs of a lot of improvement in the last few weeks and some lower rounds in the mid to high 60s but obviously nine birdies around this place is a great round and something I was very pleased with.

“I felt very in control. It’s been a while since I felt like that. It was nice to play a solid round.”

Donald also had an unusual encounter on the 13th, where he had to dodge a charging baboon.

“We were walking up 13, saw one hiding in the tree, and got to my ball and suddenly Shane said, ‘Watch out!’

“And I turned around and the thing is galloping towards me. I jumped out of the way. My facial expression I’m sure was caught on camera and probably on the internet already by now. It gave me a little bit of a fright as he strolled right by me.”

Overnight leader Ross Fisher’s 70 meant he slipped into second place, two shots off the lead. Fisher’s round featured three birdies and an eagle, but also a bogey and a nasty double-bogey at the short 12th.

“I am a little bit disappointed to shoot two under,” he said. “It’s a tough golf course. I don’t feel like I played probably as solid as yesterday. I didn’t hit it as good off the tee. I still felt like I played pretty solid.”

When asked about Donald’s performance, Fisher added: “I think any golf course anywhere, there’s always a low score out there. But, you’ve got to go out and do it. So hats off to Luke. He obviously played fantastically well today.”

Frenchman Alexander Levy lies in third place on six under after a two-under 70, while another Englishman, Danny Willett, is in fourth a further shot back after a 68.

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