Victory at Nedbank Golf unlikely for SA

2013-12-08 14:00

A South African victory in the Nedbank Golf Challenge in honour of Nelson Mandela at Sun City today is unlikely.

Welshman Jamie Donaldson staked himself to a three-shot lead in yesterday’s third round.

Donaldson, in his first appearance in the tournament, carded a 67 to stand at 16 under par and lead Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn and America’s Ryan Moore by three strokes going into today’s final round.

Former winners Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia along with Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee are another two strokes back.

Late qualifier Darren Fichardt is the leading South African contender; however he is eight shots off Donaldson’s pace with Charl Schwartzel a further stroke back.

Donaldson, ranked 30th in the world, is in the form of his life, shooting rounds of 67, 66 and 67 on arguably South Africa’s hardest golf course, and one he had not seen before until this week.

The Welshman was in complete control of his uncomplicated swing and if he is to lift the famous crystal golf ball in victory this evening, as well as a cheque for $1.2?million, it will probably be down to a bogey rather than his many birdies.

At the 17th yesterday he pushed his drive into the fairway bunker on the right and then seemed to try to bite off too much with his second.

His third scurried across the green and stopped just short of the water and, struggling to keep his balance on the edge of the lake, he scuffed his chip.

It seemed he might run up a double bogey but he holed his putt for a one-over five and then parred the last to remain in control of the championship.

Donaldson was on a total of 200 (16 under par) – staggeringly 23 shots clear of local favourite Ernie Els who, apart from having to cope with the passing of one his heroes Nelson Mandela, yesterday also heard of the death of his former mind coach, Joost van Stiphout.

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