Luke Donald leads in to Monday finish
Britain’s Luke Donald fired an eight-under-par 64 at the Kingsbarns course on Sunday to take the lead in the wind-disrupted Dunhill Links Championship.
The 31-year-old Englishman fired nine birdies to move to 15-under-par 201 after three rounds, a stroke better than fellow Britons Rory McIlroy (69) and Simon Dyson (68).
Gale force winds caused play to be cancelled on Saturday and the pro-am tournament over three courses will finish on Monday.
Donald goes in search of his third European Tour title playing alongside a formidable opponent on a mission over the Old Course at St Andrews.
His playing partner McIlory aims to go top of Europe’s money-list (Race to Dubai) on the day his pro-am partner, father Gerry, celebrates his 50th birthday.
A birdie putt by McIlroy senior rubber-stamped the pair’s appearance as one of the top 20 teams for the final day.
“Coming down the 18th with my dad on his 50th birthday is going to be incredible, it will be awesome,” McIlroy told reporters.
“I’m starting to think about the tournament a little more now I’m in the thick of things but I’m still trying to help dad as much as possible. I’ll have to play very well to win. It’s a congested leaderboard.”
The Northern Irish youngster, who bought the pro-am place as a birthday present for his father, can move to European number one even if he finishes second.
Victory for Donald would send the former Ryder Cup man, who missed more than half of last season with a wrist injury, vaulting up the money-list from 57th into a top-15 place. Only the top-15 share out the $7.5 million bonus pool at the season-ending Dubai World Championship.
“I wanted to play well to make sure I got to Dubai in the top 60, now there is a higher target” Donald told Reuters.
“The wrist injury might have been a reason why I’ve taken a while to play well tee-to-green. Since finishing fifth in the (British) Open, though, I’ve got to grips with it.”
McIlroy’s friend and mentor Darren Clarke (67) was two shots off the lead with their fellow-Northern Irishman Michael Hoey (70), Spaniard Rafael Cabrero-Bello (65) and Briton Richie Ramsay (70).
Cabrero-Bello was named European Tour player of September after equalling the tour’s 18-hole record with a 60 in the final round to win the Austrian Open.
Keiran McManus, son of twice Dunhill Links amateur winner J.P. McManus, led the team event on 31 under par, a stroke better than former Australian cricket captain Steve Waugh. The McIlroys are 22 under.