After launching The 2013 Race to Dubai early on Saturday morning with his opening drive, Norway’s Espen Kofstad made a fast start to grab a share of the lead with South Africa’s Tim Clark and Colin Nel as the weather-affected first round of the Nelson Mandela Championship presented by ISPS Handa began in Durban.
Kofstad, who topped the Challenge Tour Rankings in 2012, struck a clean drive away at precisely 0630 after the tournament’s commencement was delayed by two days due to a waterlogged Royal Durban course – the result of an unseasonably large amount of rain in KwaZulu-Natal over the preceding weeks.
After a revised scorecard saw holes seven, 13, 14 and 16 shortened to par threes for a new course par of 65, the 25 year old made birdie at the opening par five first hole before further gains at the short fifth and par four eighth and ninth holes, while his only dropped shot of the day so far came at the sixth.
The Oslo man turned in a three under par 31 to sit alongside South African native Clark, who made a hat-trick of birdies from the 13th to move into the early share of first place on the embryonic leaderboard.
Nel, meanwhile, made a third birdie of the day at the tenth to make it a three-way tie at the top, while one shot back on two under par was a group of six that included European Tour Champion Pablo Larrazabal and German amateur Dominic Foos.
Following the disruption on Thursday and Friday, it was announced that the objective of the tournament was to achieve 36 holes by Sunday evening or Monday. If 36 holes were to be achieved come Sunday evening a result would then be declared.