Clark and Madsen lead after two-day rain delay at Nelson Mandela C'ship

Tim Clark at the Nelson Mandela Championship
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An aggressive start boosted Tim Clark into a share of the first-round lead at the rain-delayed Nelson Mandela Championship.
Associated Press

Series: European Tour

Published: Saturday, December 08, 2012 | 1:01 p.m.

DURBAN, South Africa -- Morten Orum Madsen made a late charge to match Tim Clark's 5-under 60 and share the first-round lead at the European Tour's rain-delayed season-opening Nelson Mandela Championship on Saturday.

Clark had six birdies and one bogey on the shortened Royal Durban Golf Club course, which was badly affected by heavy rain over the past few days, reducing the tournament to a 36-hole event.


This is the first edition of the Nelson Mandela Championship, and it is the first event on the 2013 European Tour schedule.

Norway's Madsen, a tour newcomer, carded seven birdies and two bogeys to join Clark at the top of the leaderboard as the first event on the 2013 Race to Dubai finally got underway after the first two days were washed out.

The east coast course was adjusted to a par-65 from a par-70 and reduced by about 1,600 yards after almost all the holes were under water on Friday from heavy thunderstorms. Organizers were forced to reorganize the layout to ensure some play could go ahead.

Shortening the event to two rounds also gave early pace-setters Madsen and Clark a strong advantage ahead of the second and decisive round on Sunday.

South Africa's Lindani Ndwandwe and England's Chris Lloyd were a shot behind the lead after their 4-under 61s.

Clark played aggressively after an early start in his home city, attacking the eight new short holes. He birdied three of those par 3s in a row in his opening nine.

"It's really a case of when we did get to play, come out, try and play well and put yourself in a position," he said, "so I'm happy to have done that. We obviously can't tell what the future holds, but I do hope we get to play some more golf."

Madsen has never won a European Tour event before but dealt admirably with the challenging conditions to make four birdies going out. He dropped two coming home before finishing with successive birdies.

He and Clark have a narrow advantage over Durban-based Ndwandwe and Lloyd, who had vastly differing 61s.

Ndwandwe double bogeyed his first and added two bogeys, six birdies and an eagle two on the par-4 No. 2 -- his 11th. Lloyd, another European Tour rookie, had four birdies and no dropped shots.

South Africa's Branden Grace, a four-time winner last season who finished No. 6 on the European Tour money list, opened his season with a 1-over 66.