Date: December 12, 2013
Author: James Willoughby, Omnisport

Brooks claims early lead at Nelson Mandela Championship

Englishman Daniel Brooks leads the Nelson Mandela Championship after a weather-affected opening day of the tournament.

Brooks fired eight birdies in a blemish-free round of 62, enough to give him a one-shot lead over Frenchman Francois Calmels at the European Tour event, which has taken on additional significance since the passing of former South Africa president and anti-apartheid icon Mandela on Thursday.

French pair Edouard Dubois and Romain Wattel are a further shot behind Calmels in a tie for third.

Yet the leaderboard does not tell the full story, with more than half the field unable to complete their rounds due to inclement weather.

Play at the Mount Edgecombe Country Club in Durban started seven hours later than planned due to heavy rain.

More than 50 players did not even start their rounds, including inaugural winner Scott Jamieson of Scotland.

Of those who did finish, Brooks was the most impressive, carding four birdies on the front nine and repeating the trick on the way home.

Challenge Tour graduate Calmels entered the tournament in good form, having won an event in Mauritius last week.

And he continued to impress, shooting a seven-under 63 that included an eagle on the par-five 14th.

Dubois and Wattel both managed rounds of 64, while Swede Joel Sjoholm and Zimbabwean Ryan Cairns are tied for fifth at five under.

In a bid to make up for lost time, play will start at 6am (local time) on Friday.