Allenby in lead, McIlroy struggles

2009-12-04 00:00

SUN CITY — Robert Allenby used his driver to perfection yesterday to shoot a four-under-par 68 and take a one-stroke lead in the Nedbank Golf Challenge being played over the 7 162-metre Gary Player Country Club.

“I used my driver whenever I could,” said the Australian, who is looking to become the first Australian to win the 29-year-old tournament, and take the $1,2 million winner’s share of the $4,385 million purse in the elite 12-man invitational field.

“There are some holes on this course where you just can’t use your driver,” he said, “and when you get into trouble, it helps that you can get it up and down like I did today.”

Behind him, the vaunted challenge of Rory McIlroy was stymied by a welter of six bogeys. While Allenby cruised round with not a bogey in sight, Northern Ireland’s McIlroy, the world number 10, managed to limit the damage by carding five birdies to finish on one-over 73.

It was a no-fuss round by Allenby, who made his first birdie on the 520-metre par-five second, and he picked up two more birdies before the turn — on the fifth and the ninth.

He led by a single stroke from South Africans Tim Clark and two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen, with American Hunter Mahan and Swedes Robert Karlsson and defending champion Henrik Stenson a further shot back, sharing fourth.

“I knew I wasn’t playing my best, but that if I hung in there, I’d get a decent score,” said Clark.

Goosen managed to get his round back on track with an eagle-two on the 14th, winning himself a Volvo S80 for his effort.

He had 117 metres to the pin, and used a sand wedge to pitch it a foot from the pin and it rolled in.

Masters champion Angel Cabrera of Argentina occupied seventh with his one-under 71 after he experienced a similar day to McIlroy in a round of three bogeys. But he managed four birdies to stay under par for the tournament.

Luke Donald also had something of a roller-coaster ride, and he battled all day to overcome a double-bogey seventh on the second. He dropped another shot on the third, and then held things together for the rest of the round, making three birdies to drag things back to level-par 72, and a share of eighth with 2008 Sunshine Tour Order of Merit winner Richard Sterne.

American Nick Watney and England’s Ross Fisher brought up the rear together with McIlroy.


68 -Robert Allenby (AUS)

69 -Tim Clark (RSA), Retief Goosen (RSA)

70 -Hunter Mahan (USA), Robert Karlsson(SWE), Henrik Stenson (SWE)

71 -Angel Cabrera (ARG)

72 -Richard Sterne (RSA), Luke Donald (ENG)

73 -Rory McIlroy (NIR), Nick Watney (USA), Ross Fisher (ENG)

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