TIGER WOODS bounced back from his opening day doom at the Hero World Challenge as he fired a two-under-par 70 in the second round.
The 38-year-old is making his comeback this week after four months out through injury and had a nightmare first round as he sunk to the bottom of the leaderboard after an opening 77.
That almost certainly ended any chance the 14-time major winner had of winning the tournament he annually hosts which benefits his foundation, but only a double-bogey on the last stopped him from dipping into the 60s on yesterday.
Woodswho was clearly suffering from a fever, opened with a birdie but gave that shot back on eight before an eagle on the par-five 13th brought his round to life. A birdie followed on 14 and another on 16 had Woods four under for the day but a rain delay of around 90 minutes after he came off 17 halted his momentum and a flat finish on the last meant he was three-over for the tournament.
Meanwhile, Luke Donald had to duck out of the way of a baboon during a spectacular second round as he raced to the top of the leaderboard at the Nedbank Golf Challenge.
The Englishman had an average opening day on Thursday, shooting a one-under par round of 71, but on Friday he showed the class which saw him top the world rankings in 2011 as he carded a nine-under par 63 to head into the weekend two shots clear of the field. He also had to contend with local wildlife at the event in Sun City, South Africa, when a robust-looking primate came bounding up the fairway towards Donald and playing partner Shane Lowry.
“We were walking up 13, saw one hiding in the tree, and got to my ball and suddenly Shane said, ‘Watch out!’,” Donald said. “And 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 probably on the internet already by now. It gave me a little bit of a fright as he strolled right by me.”
Donald, 34, made six birdies on the front nine and added three on the back without dropping a shot throughout. That was enough to see him move clear of compatriot Ross Fisher, who had held the overnight lead heading into yesterday’s play at the Gary Player Country Club.
“It’s been a while since I’ve gone really low,” said Donald on the European Tour website.
“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.”
Despite losing the lead, Fisher stayed in contention with a round of 70 and now sits two behind Donald, with the same gap back to Frenchman Alexander Levy. “I don’t feel I played as solidly as yesterday,” Fisher said of his second-round effort.
“I didn’t hit it as well off the tee. It would have been nice to have picked up a couple coming in, but six under yesterday and two under today, it’s moving in the right direction and I’m only two shots behind with two rounds to go.
“Yesterday we read the greens really well but today we over-read them. I had seven or eight putts that I hit exactly where I wanted to, but I over-read the borrow. Hopefully tomorrow they will go in again.”
• Sally Watson is lying joint eighth on two-under-par 144 with scores of 73 and 71 in the Hero Women’s Indian Open golf championship at Delhi Golf Club. She is 12 shots behind the leader by three, Gwladys Nocera (France) who has scored 64 and 72 for ten-under-par 136 over the par-73 lay-out.
The other two Scots in the starting field, Carly Booth and Kelsey MacDonald, failed to survive the cut which fell at six-over 152. Booth shot 75 and 79 for 154 while MacDonald was 81 and 75 for 156.