Nedbank Golf Challenge: Luke Donald leads weather-shortened first round
Last Updated: 05/12/13 4:26pm
Luke Donald: Fast start in Sun City
Former world number one Luke Donald made a lightning quick start to the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City before lightning struck for real to help cut short the day's play early.
Donald continued his recent resurgence with a quick start helping him to claim a two-shot lead before bad weather brought an end to a broken-up day of play.
Donald, who claimed his first win of the year by defending his Dunlop Phoenix title in Japan 11 days ago, was five under par after 11 holes when play was abandoned for the day due to the threat of lightning.
First round leaderboard:
RSA unless stated)
-5 L Donald (Eng)(11 holes)
-3 J Donaldson (Wal) (12)
-3 T Bjorn (Den) (6)
-2 M Kaymer (Ger) (6)
Almost three hours had already been lost to bad weather, the first thunderstorm hitting the course shortly after noon local time, by which time world number 15 Donald had already moved top of the leaderboard.
The 35-year-old got off to a brilliant start with a birdie from five feet on the first and an eagle from 15ft on the par-five second, and remained three under after six holes when the players were forced from the course.
When play resumed Donald picked up further shots at the eighth and ninth to be out in 31, two shots ahead of Denmark's Thomas Bjorn, Wales' Jamie Donaldson and Zimbabwe's Brendon de Jonge, who saw his approach to the ninth spin back into the hole for an eagle three.
"It doesn't get much better than a three-three start around here," said Donald. "Birdie-eagle and all of a sudden you are three under par through two holes.
"I played solid for those first 11 holes and hit a couple of very nice shots in that time that I was able to take advantage of. I feel good over the ball right now and I am playing with confidence.
"I took a lot of confidence from winning in Japan. It is a place that I love to go back and a course that I love to play so it was very satisfying to be able to go back there and defend.
"I had seen good signs in Dubai the week before that and did some good work on my long game with Chuck Cook before I left for Dubai and I really felt the benefit of that.
"I also have to say that the putting came back in Dubai and Japan. That had been a little off for most of the year so it was very encouraging to get that back and I am feeling good about my game right now."
Defending champion Martin Kaymer was a shot further back on two under with European number one Henrik Stenson one under through seven, but US Open champion Justin Rose was in joint 28th in the 30-man field after four bogeys in his first eight holes.
Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30am local time on Friday.