No monkey business from Donald as Lowry slips 10 behind

No monkey business from Donald as Lowry slips 10 behind
 Luke Donald had to take evasive action to let a baboon play through

Luke Donald had to take evasive action to let a baboon play through

Shane Lowry saw a charging baboon and a charging Luke Donald but standing in the Nedbank Golf Challenge another slow start in South Africa.

The Offaly ace slipped 10 shots behind his English playing partner Donald at the halfway mark in the $6.5m event at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City. 

Just over 24 hours after opening with a double bogey six at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City en route to a middle of the pack 72, the world No 47 bogeyed the par-five second and then made a double bogey six at the third.

He battled back again to card a second successive 72, making birdies at the sixth, ninth, 10th and 14th before giving a shot back at the 15th.

Given his early mistakes on the first two days, a title tilt worth just under €1 million may be beyond the 27-year old at the end of a long season, especially after seeing Donald's exhibition.

#Repost @lukedonald with "Just a baboon playing thru on the 13th hole today! #GolfinSouthAfrica 🐒"

A photo posted by European Tour (@europeantour) on

However, he remains tied for 15th on even par and just four shots behind Marcel Siem, who holds down fifth place worth €235,000.

Playing the kind of golf that brought him to world No 1, Donald moved two shots clear of overnight leader Ross Fisher (68) thanks to an immaculate, nine under par 63, equalling the course record.

He did all his scoring in the first 14 holes, picking up six birdies in an outward nine of 30 blows before making further birdies at the 10th, 13th and 14th and then parring his way to the clubhouse.

 Shane Lowry in action in round two at the Nedbank Golf Challenge. Picture: David Lloyd /  www.golffile.ie

Shane Lowry in action in round two at the Nedbank Golf Challenge. Picture: David Lloyd / www.golffile.ie

Frenchman Alexander Levy (70) is four behind Donald on six under with Englishman Danny Willett alone in fourth on five under after a 68.

Donald enjoyed a superb front nine, carding six birdies, and picked up three more shots on the way in to equal the course record, despite being taken by surprise by a charging baboon on the 13th hole.

“It's been a while since I've gone really low," said Donald, who hit 11 fairways, 14 greens and took just 23 putts. "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."

As for the baboon, Donald said: “We were walking up 13 and saw a baboon hiding in the tree. I got to my ball and suddenly 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.”

Welshman Jamie Donaldson, meanwhile, withdrew suffering from severe migraine.

Nedbank Golf Challenge

134 L Donald  (Eng) 71 63,

136 R Fisher (Eng) 66 70, 

138 A Levy (Fra) 68 70, 

139 D Willett  (Eng) 71 68, 

140 M Siem  (Ger) 68 72, 

141 C Schwartzel  (RSA) 70 71, T Clark (RSA) 70 71, T Jaidee (Tha) 71 70, B Todd (USA) 73 68, T Fleetwood (Eng) 74 67, 

142 L Westwood (Eng) 72 70, G Coetzee (RSA) 68 74, 

143 S Gallacher (Sco) 70 73, L Oosthuizen  (RSA) 70 73, 

144 M Jiménez (Esp) 70 74, S Lowry  (Irl) 72 72, J Blixt  (Swe) 71 73, B Koepka  (USA) 70 74, P Larrazábal (Esp) 73 71, 

145 K Aphibarnrat (Tha) 72 73, D Van Der Walt (RSA) 73 72, 

146 J Luiten (Ned) 72 74, 

148 M Warren (Sco) 75 73, 

149 M Kaymer (Ger) 74 75, J Ahlers (RSA) 74 75, 

150 K Na (USA) 77 73, 

152 T Bjørn (Den) 80 72, 

154 M Ilonen  (Fin) 76 78, 

155 D Van Tonder  (RSA) 77 78, 

** J Donaldson (Wal) 74 WD.