Webster claims clubhouse lead

12/9/2012 9:56:35 AM
Steve Webster  (Getty Images)
Steve Webster (Getty Images)
Steve Webster had an anxious afternoon in store as he waited to see if his closing 60 was enough to land a first European Tour title for over five years at The Nelson Mandela Championship presented by ISPS Handa.

The 37 year old Englishman, playing his 446th European Tour event, had five birdies in his bogey-free closing round on the modified par 65 Royal Durban layout after heavy rain earlier in the week had reduced the tournament to 36 holes.

“It’s a nice wait,” said Webster, after taking the clubhouse lead on seven under par. “I think it’s going to be short. We’ll just see what happens and it’s up to those boys playing in the afternoon now. 

“I was hitting my irons great so I really enjoyed this week – it’s been frustrating for the sponsors only having two rounds but we got there in the end, because it didn’t look like we were going to play at all on Friday. It’s nice to have a competitive 36 holes.”

The first threat to Webster’s title hopes looked likely to come from Spain’s Eduardo De La Riva.

Having come through Qualifying School last month for the first time in ten years, De La Riva was four under for the day and level with Webster with five holes remaining.

While Webster is embarking on his 18th European Tour campaign, German rookie Maximilian Kieffer was set to make a good start to his maiden season after a second straight 62 saw him finish on six under, level with England’s Matt Nixon.

Overnight joint-leader Morten Orum Madsen was on the same mark with five to play, while the other player to lie five under overnight – South African Tim Clark – was yet to tee off.

De La Riva reached eight under with a birdie at the 14th, but a bogey at the last left him tied with not only Webster, but also Scotland’s Jamieson, who fired a remarkable 57.

It was the lowest score in European Tour history but due to the modified conditions ti would not be going down in the record books.