Grace in contention as Nelson Mandela Championship first round ends

The first round of the weather-hit Nelson Mandela Championship presented by ISPS Handa creaked to its close on the third day of the tournament on Friday 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, which seems like an age ago after 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.

 

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