Grace in the chase at NMC
Johannesburg - The first round of the weather-hit Nelson Mandela Championship creaked to its close on Friday -- the third day of the tournament -- at Mount Edgecombe Country Club with its highest-ranked player, Branden Grace, signing for a six-under-par 64.
That left him two shots off the first-round 62 which was posted by England’s Daniel Brooks on Wednesday.
Regular rain left Mount Edgecombe’s fairways waterlogged and the course unplayable for much of the first two scheduled days of the tournament.
With so much time already lost, and play on Sunday not an option in a gesture of respect for the state funeral of former president Nelson Mandela, it means the tournament has been shortened to 54 holes.
The second round started while the final few players were completing their first rounds on Friday, and the cut to the top 65 players and those tying on that score will be made once the second round is completed – which should be sometime on Saturday morning.
The final round will then be played from a two-tee start in an effort to wrap things up as scheduled on Saturday evening.
Brooks held a one-stroke edge over Frenchman Francois Calmels who was on seven-under 63 after the first round, and, joining Grace on six-under, were two other Frenchmen in Edouard Dubois and Romain Wattel, and Grace’s countryman Oliver Bekker.
Leading scores after the first round of the Nelson Mandela Championship (RSA unless specified):
62 - Daniel Brooks (ENG)
63 - Francois Calmels (FRA)
64 - Edouard Dubois (FRA), Romain Wattel (FRA), Oliver Bekker, Branden Grace
65 - Joel Sjoholm (SWE), Ryan Cairns (ZIM), Michael Hoey (NIR)
66 - Adrien Saddier (FRA), Estanislao Goya (ARG), Victor Riu (FRA), Jaco Ahlers, Andrew McArthur (SCO), Darren Fichardt
67 - Phillip Archer (ENG), Bradford Vaughan, Tjaart van der Walt, Matthew Carvell, Dawie Van der Walt, Charl Coetzee, Jbe' Kruger, James Kingston, Keenan Davidse, Adrian Otaegui (ESP), Matthew Baldwin (ENG), Byeong-hun An (KOR), Adilson Da Silva (BRA)
68 - Andrew Georgiou, Daniel Gaunt (AUS), Jens Fahrbring (SWE), Alastair Forsyth (SCO), Theunis Spangenberg, Andrew Johnston (ENG), Fredrik Andersson Hed (SWE), Julien Guerrier (FRA), Vaughn Groenewald, Brandon Stone, George Coetzee, David Higgins (IRL), Merrick Bremner, Jake Roos, Jacques Blaauw, Chris Paisley (ENG), Duncan Stewart (SCO), Christiaan Basson, Alex Haindl