Two shoot 59 at Mandela Championship

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Spain's Jorge Campillo and South Africa's Colin Nel both shot rounds of 59  the first in European Tour history  in the second round of the Nelson Mandela Champioship. Photo by Stuart Franklin

Johannesburg – When the sun finally came out over the Mount Edgecombe Country Club during the Nelson Mandela Championship on Friday, it shone down on ninth and 18th greens that, within 30 seconds, witnessed European Tour history.

Spain's Jorge Campillo and South Africa's Colin Nel both shot rounds of 59 Ä the first in European Tour history Ä in the second round of this weather-affected tournament. They finished within seconds of each other, Campillo first and moments later, Nel.

It took Campillo to the top of the leader-board, where he was tied with England's Matthew Baldwin on 11 under par, with his own sublime round of 62.

They are one stroke clear of Oliver Bekker and Branden Grace, with the round still incomplete.

Nel went from an opening 77 featuring one birdie to a 59

featuring nine birdies and an eagle for a total of four under.

The two 59s were just another bizarre twist in the tournament, in which the first round took three days to finish, and went straight into the second round because of rain and a waterlogged course.

Neither 59 will go down as an official record on the European Tour, because they were on a Course One, reduced to a par-70

because of a waterlogged fifth fairway, and both used preferred lies.

They remain an incredible achievement.

In 2009, Peter Karmis shot 59 in the final round of the Sunshine Tour's Lombard Insurance Classic on his way to victory at the Royal Swazi Sun Country Club. It is still the only official 59 in Sunshine Tour history.

Nel added more drama to the mix when he tweaked his back shortly before the round, having arrived at the course at 6am for the restart of the first round, only to be sent back home for a 9am restart because the course was still too wet.

“Before the first shot, I tweaked my back a bit and could hardly bend down to pick up a ball or put in a tee,” Nel said.

“I had a bit of physio, and I said to the guys I'm just going to go out and have fun and let it happen.

“I was a bit depressed after my first round. So on the first tee I said to my playing partners, 'Where's the first tee and what's the course record?'

“I was seven over and I needed to go deep to make the cut. The putter just got hot. I had 22 putts, 11 each nine, and you dream of that.”

Campillo was just as thrilled, finally believing what his caddie had told him in the practice round.

“My caddie walked the course during the practice round and said we could shoot 59 out here,” Campillo said.

“It's a great day. I was nervous on the finish, but I managed to finish strong. I'm really happy, because no matter what you still have to make the putts to shoot 59.”

A feast of golf awaits on Saturday, with the second round still to be completed and the third round needing to be played the same day. The tournament has already been reduced to 54 holes. – Sapa


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