DURBAN, South Africa – Daniel Brooks of England shot an 8 under 62 to take a one-stroke lead in the Nelson Mandela Championship on Wednesday after heavy rain disrupted the first round of the European Tour event.
Play at the Mount Edgecombe Country Club began seven hours late after rain left many of the fairways waterlogged. More than half the field failed to complete their rounds and play is scheduled to re-start at 6:00 a.m. local time on Thursday in order to catch up.
Brooks is being pursued by a group of French players, led by Francois Calmels on 63 and followed by Edouard Dubois and Romain Wattel a stroke further back.
Sweden's Joel Sjoholm and Ryan Cairns of Zimbabwe share fifth place after carding 65s.
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Brooks, who kept his European Tour card after last month's Qualifying School, produced eight birdies in his bogey-free round. Although play was suspended shortly after he birdied the 17th hole, the Englishman decided to carry on and finish his round.
"I was completely focused on getting to the 18th tee box when we got called in," Brooks said. "That probably helped, in a way, because I just kept playing and the result was good."
The course was reduced to a par-70 track. The 320-yard par-4 fifth was converted into a 142-yard par 3 because of the waterlogged fairway.
"It's not too bad and they've shortened a few holes as well," Brooks added. "If you're hitting it on the fairways, it's pretty score-able."
The event is being played Wednesday through Saturday this year to recognize the state funeral for the late president. An official memorial service for Mandela was held Tuesday at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, where Mandela made his last public appearance at the closing ceremony of the 2010 World Cup. His body will lie in state from Wednesday through Friday in Pretoria. The official state funeral and burial at Qunu will be on Sunday.
The tournament honors Mandela's charity work through the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund.