Donald blazes trail as Willett stays in touch

Yorkshire's Danny Willett is five shots off the lead at the halfway stage in South Africa.
Yorkshire's Danny Willett is five shots off the lead at the halfway stage in South Africa.
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Luke Donald enjoyed a spectacular second round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge to race to the top of the leaderboard.

The Englishman had an average opening day on Thursday, shooting a one-under par round of 71, but showed the class which saw him top the world rankings in 2011 as he carded a nine-under par 63 to head into the weekend two shots clear of the field.

Donald, 34, made six birdies on the front nine and added three on the back without dropping a shot throughout.

That was enough to see him move clear of compatriot Ross Fisher, who had held the overnight lead heading into Friday’s play at at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City.

Sheffield’s Danny Willett is in fourth position, just five shots behind Donald after an impressive second-round scores of 68.

“It’s been a while since I’ve gone really low,” said Donald.

“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.

“Everything starts for me when I can feel like I can drive it in the fairway and then give myself some opportunities, and obviously when the putter is warm it’s always one of my best weapons in the bag.”

Despite losing the lead, Fisher stayed in contention with a round of 70 and now sits two behind Donald – with the same gap back to Frenchman Alexander Levy.

“I don’t feel I played as solidly as yesterday,” added Fisher.

“I didn’t hit it as well off the tee. It would have been nice to have picked up a couple coming in, but six under yesterday and two under today, it’s moving in the right direction.”