Branden Grace (Getty Images)
Branden Grace moved to within two shots of the lead as the first round of The Nelson Mandela Championship presented by ISPS Handa was finally completed on Friday morning.
The highest ranked player in the field, Grace signed for a six under par 64 at Mount Edgecombe after a further three hours were lost a waterlogged course before play could resume on day three.
That left him two shots behind the eight under 62 which was posted by England’s Daniel Brooks on Wednesday, with heavy rain in Durban leaving the fairways waterlogged and the course unplayable for much of the first two scheduled days of the tournament.
Given the time already lost, and play on Sunday not an option in a gesture of respect for the state funeral of former president Nelson Mandela, it means the tournament has been shortened to 54 holes.
The second round started while the final few players were completing their first rounds, and the cut to the top 65 players and those tying on that score will be made once the second round is completed – which should be sometime on Saturday morning.
The final round will then be played from a two-tee start in an effort to wrap things up as scheduled on Saturday evening.
Brooks held a one stroke edge over Frenchman François Calmels, while Grace was joined on six under by two other Frenchmen in Edouard Dubois and Romain Wattel, as well as compatriot Oliver Bekker.