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Rains again halt Nelson Mandela golf event

Dec. 7, 2012 at 6:13 AM

DURBAN, South Africa, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Heavy rains and lightning Friday in South Africa caused another postponement of first-round play at the European Tour's Nelson Mandela Championship.

The event is the first on the 2012-13 European PGA Tour calendar.

Rains Thursday led organizers to delay the first round but more than an inch of rain fell on the Royal Durban course early Friday, leaving it unplayable.

"The further overnight rain -- around 30mm -- and a huge thunderstorm has obviously set us back a long way now," said European Tour Tournament Director Mikael Eriksson.

"Every fairway is almost completely underwater now ... ."

Course officials were moving in pumps to try to clear numerous areas of standing water.

Eriksson said the first round was rescheduled to begin at 6:30 a.m. Saturday. Organizers didn't say whether the event would be reduced from 72 holes but with the European Tour in South Africa for next week's Alfred Dunhill Championship, the Durban tournament could be extended to Monday.

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