Birdie blitz sends Bekker clear

12/13/2013 10:47:00 AM
Oliver Bekker  (Getty Images)
Oliver Bekker (Getty Images)
Oliver Bekker surged into the lead with a flying start to the second round of The Nelson Mandela Championship presented by ISPS Handa.

The 29 year old South African had played the last four holes of his opening round in level par for a 64 on returning to the Mount Edgecombe course this morning after another three-hour delay due to soaked fairways.

That, allied with a seven hour delay before play on Wednesday and play being called off after a little over four hours on Thursday, forced organisers to reduce the tournament to 54 holes.

With the event reduced to something of a sprint, Bekker raced out of the blocks after a swift turnaround.

Two behind Daniel Brooks after the Englishman’s stunning 62 on the opening day, Bekker birdied the tenth – his first – then leapt into the lead with an eagle at the long 12th.

Another birdie followed at the 13th, and a fine approach to five feet at the 14th saw him go five under through five holes and 11 under for the week.

That was three clear of 26 year old Qualifying School graduate Brooks, who was yet to tee off, with the tournament’s highest-ranked player, Branden Grace, birdieing the 12th to join François Calmels on seven under.

Three-time Sunshine Tour winner Bekker dropped shots at the 16th and 18th to turn in 33, but got back on the birdie trail from five feet at the second to remain in front.

Spain’s Jorge Campillo pitched in for a second eagle of the day at the fourth to be nine under for the first 13 holes of his round and also the tournament, moving within one of the lead in the process.

Brooks was still waiting in the clubhouse in third, while Calmels had been joined on seven under by England’s Matthew Baldwin.