Brooks maintains lead as Nelson Mandela Championship suspended again

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Durban, South Africa ( - Daniel Brooks was able to maintain his position atop the leaderboard at the Nelson Mandela Championship when play was suspended for the second straight day Thursday.

Wednesday's play was suspended for darkness following a seven-hour delay to the start of the round, and Thursday again saw heavy rains that eventually caused a suspension when the course became too saturated.

Brooks was able to finish his round on Wednesday with an 8-under 62 to claim the clubhouse lead. Francois Calmels also completed his first round Wednesday and is alone in second place after carding a 63, while Romain Wattel and Edouard Dubois shared third at 6-under 64.

Brooks' closest competitor on Thursday was Oliver Bekker, who was 6-under through 14 holes at Mount Edgecombe Country Club when play was halted.

"You just keep your head down and grind. There's nothing you can do about it," Bekker said about the conditions. "I'm actually happy with the delay, to be honest. The weather is brutal out there at the moment and I've got a couple of tough holes coming up, so hopefully it clears up and those holes become a little easier when I go back out."

Branden Grace and Darren Fichardt were both 4-under through 13 and 12 holes, respectively, to move into a share of eighth place when play was suspended.

The first round will resume at 11:00 p.m. (ET) Thursday, with the second round scheduled to start at 11:40 p.m.

Bekker started fast on Thursday with three straight birdies. After parring his next two holes, he moved to 5-under with a pair of birdies at the sixth and eighth.

The South African would par his next five holes before converting a birdie effort at the 14th to move within two strokes of the lead moments prior to play being called for the day.

"Today I made a couple of good putts and things have been going my way. Those little breaks make a big difference in bad weather. The forecast for tomorrow and Saturday is pretty good, so if it clears up we could get a few good rounds in," said Bekker.

Fichardt had four birdies through 12 holes to earn his share of eighth place, while Grace traded a single bogey with five birdies through his 13 holes to reach 4-under.

NOTES: The start of the tournament was moved up to Wednesday to accommodate the funeral of tournament namesake and former South African president Nelson Mandela, who passed away last week ... Mandela's funeral will take place on Sunday ... Brooks is ranked 452nd in the world ... Calmels is a three-time winner on the Challenge Tour ... Defending champion Scott Jamieson was 2-over through 13 holes when play was suspended.