Donald leads from the front in race to claim No 1 spot from Kaymer

Luke Donald is 36 holes away from becoming the world No 1 after a brilliant 65 gave him a two-shot lead at the halfway point of The Heritage in South Carolina.

Donald needs to win at Hilton Head if he is to usurp Martin Kaymer and on yesterday's performance that scenario may well have leapt from possibility to probability. The Englishman's six-under magnificence – which hauled him to 10-under – contained seven birdies which once again marked him out as one the best short-game merchants in the game.

"I haven't made too many mistakes out there," said Donald, whose nearest challengers include the defending champion, Jim Furyk, with countryman Ian Poulter on seven-under. "This is a tricky place. You have to think two three shots ahead. It's a thinking man's course. When I came on Tour people said this would be the perfect course for me. It's been good to me this last few years."

It certainly has with a third and a second in the last two Hilton Head renewals. With nine top-10s from his last 10 appearances, the world No 3 went into this event an obvious favourite – not a position to which he is accustomed. But with a new attitude which his coach, Pat Goss, calls "Ryder Cup Luke", the quiet man of golf is exuding a steely confidence.

If he fails in his mission, then Britain may well have a fall-back. As Lee Westwood set off to complete his second round of the Indonesian Masters this morning the world No 1 crown was also on his mind. Westwood – who will reclaim the mantle he lost last month if he wins and Donald fails to prevail – was tying for the lead until lightning paused his charge in Jakarta.

It was not only the patriotic who would have been happy with his efforts. The traditionalists would have been delighted to see he was using a conventional putter again after playing his last three competitive rounds with the dreaded belly putter. The return to the smaller implement paid instant dividends when he birdied the first four holes.

Westwood made the turn in an impressive 32 before adding birdies on the 12th and the 16th, with his solitary bogey on the 13th. He was five-under for his round and nine-under on the leaderboard, which saw him level with Shaaban Hussin and Park Hyun-bin. Westwood loves to be in the position to enforce his game and was clearly frustrated by the storm's intervention.

Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy
tvCall the Midwife Christmas Special
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there