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Mandela Championship: 59s shine in rain-hit event

Jorge Campillo and Colin Nel celebrate scoring 59 in the Nelson Mandela Championship. Picture: Getty

Jorge Campillo and Colin Nel celebrate scoring 59 in the Nelson Mandela Championship. Picture: Getty

  • by MARTIN DEMPSTER
 

SCOTT Jamieson’s seven-under-par 65, which kept the defending champion in the event, was overshadowed by two players, Spaniard Jorge Campillo and South African Colin Nel, carding 59s in the rain-delayed second round of the Nelson Mandela Championship in Durban.

Alas, neither efforts will be entered in the record books as the European Tour, unlike the PGA Tour, where two 59s have been achieved in similar circumstances, don’t officially recognise scores from preferred lies, as is the case this week on the saturated fairways at Mount Edgecombe.

Campillo, a 27-year-old from Caceres, was first to break the magic 60 barrier in the ISPS Handa-supported event, carding two eagles and seven birdies in a flawless 11-under-par effort.

It followed an opening 70, though Nel’s second-round improvement was even more eye-catching as the recently-turned 30-year-old bounced back from a 77 that included two double-bogeys by signing for an eagle and nine birdies. It left him tied for 13th on completion of the round.

“We play other par-70s on Tour, but you still have to shoot 59 and I’m pretty happy,” said Campillo after catapulting himself into joint-second, a shot behind Englishman Daniel Brooks, who had seven holes of his second round still to play when darkness halted play.

“I was never close to 59 before, but in the KLM Open I was eight-under with three holes to go on a par 70,” added the Spaniard, who is chasing his maiden European Tour title.

“Finishing with three birdies would have put me on 59, but I finished par-par-bogey. That helped me a lot today, because finishing well was important and I did it.”

The low-scoring blitz came after tournament organisers chose to reduce the event to 54 holes due to the weather conditions – the second year in a row the same tournament has been blighted by rain.

There was another delay yesterday in an event that was brought forward by a day to its Wednesday start to avoid a clash of its final round and tomorrow’s funeral of Mandela, the former South African president.

The handful of players who had not completed their first rounds were due out from 6am local time, but they did not make it to the tee until 9am.

It meant Brooks was one of the later second-round starters, but the 26-year-old picked up four birdies and had still to put a foot wrong in the event when play was stopped.

Another Englishman, Matthew Baldwin, fired a 62 to share the clubhouse lead with Campillo, with three South Africans, including 2012 Dunhill Links winner Branden Grace, ominously placed on ten-under as they bid to claim the title as a tribute to Mandela.

Jamieson, who enjoyed the thrill of picking up the unique trophy after winning its inaugural staging 12 months ago, looked to be heading for an early exit on this occasion but dug deep to recover from his first-round 73. An eight-shot improvement second-time around was fuelled by six birdies.

Alastair Forsyth, sitting joint-tenth on six-under but, with three holes of his second round to play, is top Scot on the leaderboard, with Duncan Stewart (70) and Andrew McArthur (72) alongside Jamieson in joint-45th.

Fifer Peter Whiteford is sitting a shot below the projected cut mark after a brace of 70s, with the race looking to have been run for the rest of the Scots, including David Drysdale, who pulled out injured after 14 holes in his second round.

“I was playing okay but then pulled something in my back on the ninth hole,” said the Cockburnspath man. “I think it’s my body telling me that I’ve played too much – some rest is needed after a long run of golf.”

 

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