Shane Lowry put himself in position to make one final move up the world rankings this season when he birdied the last to break par for the first time in the $6.5million Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City.
The world No 47 had five birdies and four bogeys as he added a one under 71 to a pair of 72s, moving up two spots to tied 13th at the Gary Player Country Club.
The 27-year old midlander is 12 shots behind leader Luke Donald, who is hoping for the perfect 37th birthday present on Sunday after a three under par 69 gave him a one-shot lead over compatriot Danny Willett (65) in the elite, 30-man event.
Another Englishman, Ross Fisher, lies third on ten under thanks to a second consecutive 70, while Germany’s Marcel Siem is fourth courtesy of a 71 and five under overall.
Donald mixed five birdies and two bogeys to stay in front on a breezy day at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City, South Africa, and at one point he led by four strokes. However, Willett, on his first appearance in the Nedbank Golf Challenge had eight birdies and one dropped shot to storm into contention.
“I'm pretty pleased with the score," Donald said. "I could have played a little more solid on the back nine, but around this course, 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 was very calm out there, very collected and hit the shots that I wanted to again. This is as pleased as I've been with my game for a while. The last year and a half have been very tough. I haven't really given myself many chances.
"I won just over a year ago in Japan, but I really haven't put myself in position very often in the last year. So I'm excited to be in that position again. That's why we work hard and that's why we practise so much. I'm excited for the challenge tomorrow.”
Even finishing tied 13th, Lowry could move up to 42nd in the world though he will be hoping for a little more luck on the greens
Nedbank Golf Challenge
203 L Donald (Eng) 71 63 69,
204 D Willett (Eng) 71 68 65,
206 R Fisher (Eng) 66 70 70,
211 M Siem (Ger) 68 72 71,
212 L Oosthuizen (RSA) 70 73 69, T Jaidee (Tha) 71 70 71,
213 T Clark (RSA) 70 71 72, K Aphibarnrat (Tha) 72 73 68, M Jiménez (Esp) 70 74 69,
214 J Blixt (Swe) 71 73 70, D Van Der Walt (RSA) 73 72 69, A Levy (Fra) 68 70 76,
215 T Fleetwood (Eng) 74 67 74, S Gallacher (Sco) 70 73 72, P Larrazábal (Esp) 73 71 71, Shane Lowry (Irl) 72 72 71,
216 C Schwartzel (RSA) 70 71 75, B Todd (USA) 73 68 75,
218 G Coetzee (RSA) 68 74 76,
219 B Koepka (USA) 70 74 75, J Luiten (Ned) 72 74 73, J Ahlers (RSA) 74 75 70, M Warren (Sco) 75 73 71,
220 T Bjørn (Den) 80 72 68, L Westwood (Eng) 72 70 78, M Kaymer (Ger) 74 75 71,
222 K Na (USA) 77 73 72,
226 M Ilonen (Fin) 76 78 72,
231 D Van Tonder (RSA) 77 78 76,
WD J Donaldson (Wal) 74 WD