Nine birdies, one baboon for Donald

Close encounter for former world No 1 in South Africa.

JOHANNESBURG // Luke Donald fired a 9-under 63 to take two-shot lead at the Nedbank Golf Challenge yesterday, avoiding a close encounter with a baboon in the process.

The 36-year-old former world No 1 from England had nine birdies and just missed setting new course record at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City when he failed to birdie the final hole.

Donald’s only uncomfortable moment came when a baboon charged across the 13th fairway.

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

“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 is probably on the internet already by now. It gave me a little bit of a fright as he strolled right by me.”

After a poor season, Donald’s sterling score was nine shots better than the average round posted by the other 28 players in the elite field. They averaged 71.7 strokes.

Overnight leader Ross Fisher shot 70 to follow his opening 66 and stands in second place, two shots back.

France’s Alexander Levy is two shots adrift of Fisher and heads into the weekend in third place.

A year to the day since Nelson Mandela passed away, a minute’s silence was observed in memory of the former South Africa president.

Watch the video here

* Agence France-Presse

Published: December 5, 2014 04:00 AM