Johannesburg - Mbulaeni Mulaudzi faded in the finishing straight but held on to grab fourth place in his first race of the season at the Diamond League meeting in New York on Saturday.
The former 800 metres world champion led an otherwise disappointing South African contingent in the third leg of the global series.
Mulaudzi tucked in behind world record holder David Rudisha on the first lap of a slow race, and he held on to finish a little more than two seconds off the pace in one minute, 47.46 seconds (1:47.46).
Rudisha, the Olympic champion, won in 1:45.14.
Cornel Fredericks, meanwhile, struggled on the inside lane, in cold conditions, and trailed home in eighth position in the men's 400m hurdles, well behind American Michael Tinsley, who won in 48.43.
Sunette Viljoen, who set the meeting record in New York last year, also battled in the conditions, taking seventh position in the women's javelin throw with a second-round heave of 57.87m.
Viljoen was given only three chances after missing the top-six cut by less than a metre.
Christina Obergfoll of Germany secured victory with a best have of 65.33m.
The only other South African in the start lists, Wayde van Niekerk, withdrew from the men's 400m sprint.