Date: December 13, 2013
Author: Nicholas McGee, Omnisport

Bekker gains ground on Brooks as weather strikes again

Daniel Brooks remains atop the leaderboard at the Nelson Mandela Championship after the tournament suffered more weather delays on Thursday.

Englishman Brooks carded an eight-under par 62 in his first round on Wednesday – when play was subject to a seven-hour delay due to heavy rain – and his mark has yet to be bettered following another day of disruption.

Only four hours and 23 minutes were possible on day two before officials brought proceedings to a halt due to the state of the Mount Edgecombe course following more inclement weather.

Few players were able to make any significant movement up the leaderboard, but home hope Oliver Bekker is in a strong position after he went six under through 14 holes of his first round.

Bekker, 29, started brilliantly as he shot five birdies in the first eight holes, and he duly gained another shot at the 14th before play was brought to a halt to move within two of Brooks.

The South African has yet to win a European Tour event in his career, but Bekker insisted he is enjoying the challenge presented by the weather.

"You just keep your head down and grind. There's nothing you can do about it," he said.

"If you can get past the mental battle and accept that it's the same for everyone, then I think you've already beaten half of the field.

"I'm actually happy with the delay, to be honest. The weather is brutal out there at the moment and I’ve got a couple of tough holes coming up, so hopefully it clears up and those holes become a little easier when I go back out."

Bekker is joined in the top 10 by compatriots Branden Grace and Darren Fichardt, who both sit at four under, however, defending champion Scott Jamieson is struggling at two over after 13 holes.

Play is due to resume at 06.00 (local time) on Friday.