Francois Calmels of France converted the confidence he took from a tournament victory last week in Mauritius into an opening round of seven-under-par 63 in the €1-million Nelson Mandela Championship presented by ISPS Handa on Wednesday.
It was a rain-affected first round at Mount Edgecombe Country Club, and it was an incomplete round after a seven-hour delay was needed to get the course into playable shape – and that only happened after the 293-metre (320-yard) par-four fifth was converted into a 130-metre (142-yard) par-three because the fairway was so waterlogged.
Calmels defeated Hennie Otto in the AfrAsia Golf Masters at Anahita Resort in Mauritius, closing with a 65 to chase down the South African.
“It was a great week for me,” said Calmels. “I made a great last-round 65 to win by one over Hennie, and that give me quite a bit of self-confidence. I know I’m playing well, and the great round today was just perfect.”
He wasn’t the leader when first-round play was suspended: Daniel Brooks of England birdied his 17th hole to move to eight-under-par, and he had a one-stroke edge over Calmels, with two other Frenchmen – Edouard Dubois and Romain Wattel – safely in the clubhouse each on six-under-par 64.
Also finished were Sweden’s Joel Sjoholm on five-under, and Ryan Cairns of Zimbabwe on the same score. The leading South African was Jaco Ahlers on four-under-par.