Donald grabs share of lead with 66 in Japan


Former world No. 1 Luke Donald is halfway to defending his title at the Dunlop Phoenix after carding a 5-under 66 during Friday's second round in Miyazaki, Japan.

Donald's score was the low round of the day at Phoenix Country Club and helped the Englishman bounce back from an opening 73. He now shares the lead at 3-under 139 heading into the weekend with three others: Sung-Joon Park, Hyung-Sung Kim and Yoshinobu Tsukada. Overnight leader Kazuhiro Yamashita dropped back into a tie for sixth after following his first-round 67 with a 3-over 74 Friday.

Several notable names remain in contention, including recent Presidents Cup participant Hideki Matsuyama, who sits three shots off the pace after a second consecutive round of even-par 71, and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, who has matched Matsuyama through 36 holes. Keegan Bradley is among a tie for 37th, six shots off the pace following rounds of 73 and 72, while Billy Horschel struggled to a 5-over 76 that dropped him into a tie for 44th with, among others, Charlie Beljan.

Current U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson carded a 4-over 75, and at 9-over 151 the 64-year-old missed the cut by two shots when the 84-man field was trimmed to low 60 plus ties.

This week on Twitter, Donald has been employing the hashtag #DefendTheBeef as he looks to go back-to-back in Miyazaki. While most events supply the winner with a healthy check, the Dunlop Phoenix is notable in that its champion receives about $80,000 worth of highly-sought after Miyazaki beef.