Wednesday, December 11

Brooks Leads Rainy Nelson Mandela Championship

THE WORLD MEDIA HAVE BEEN FOCUSED on Nelson Mandela since he died nearly a week ago. The body of the anti-apartheid icon and first black president of South Africa now lies in state after world leaders, the rich and famous, and the common people whose cause Mandela championed paid tribute to him on a rainy Tuesday.

So it's all together fitting that this week is also the playing of the Nelson Mandela Championship, an event co-sanctioned by the European Tour and the Sunshine Tour. The tournament in Durban, South Africa, was played for the first time last December.

On Wednesday under overcast and rainy skies, a field of international players teed off just days after Mandela's passing at age 95. All profits from the event will be donated to the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital.

The first round on the 6,612-yard Mount Edgecombe Country Club was later suspended due to rain. Englishman Daniel Brooks is the clubhouse leader after an 8-under 62.

"I'm over the moon," said Brooks at

"I played really nicely, putted really well and I managed to finish. It was quite tough, but we were lucky that we could place in the fairways, which gave us a bit of relief."

Less than half the field were able to finish the opening round. Play will resume at 6 a.m. local time on Thursday.

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