By Michael Todt
DURBAN (Reuters) - Scotland's Scott Jamieson clinched his first European Tour International Schedule victory as he beat Steve Webster and Eduardo de la Riva in a playoff to win the inaugural Nelson Mandela Championship on Sunday.
The tournament had been restructured into a 36-hole event after a waterlogged course prevented play over the first two days, and the course had been shortened to a par-65 for the first event of the 2013 European Tour.
The Scot began with a one-over par round of 66 and found himself in a share of 68th place at the halfway point.
But a sensational round of 57 on Sunday morning including an outward nine of 26 lifted him level with Webster and de la Riva on a seven-under score of 123. The trio were then forced to wait more than five hours to find out if their efforts would be good enough for a place in a playoff.
But as the wind picked up in Durban, the afternoon field were unable to match the leaders' score, and they began a sudden-death playoff at the 18th hole.
"First thing this morning I wouldn't have thought I'd be standing here with a trophy at the end of the day, but I was only six shots back. But eight-under par was a great score today and it was obviously enough to get me into the playoff," Jamieson told a news conference.
The first man eliminated was De la Riva, who was unable to get down in two after finding the bunker on the first playoff hole.
"It's a big pity for me. I played very well in the tournament, and in the sudden death I hit a good second shot. But it went in the sand, and a very bad bunker shot cost me," de la Riva told Reuters.
Jamieson and Webster returned to the 18th tee to continue the playoff, and the Englishman found trouble in the left rough. His bogey was not enough to match the par of Jamieson, allowing the Scot to clinch victory.
"I was pretty nervous for the playoff. But that's why we play - we want to get in that situation and that's what I kept telling myself. The other guys would have been nervous too, so it's just a case of who plays the best golf," Jamieson said.
"Hopefully, this will be a stepping stone to many more victories this year. The goal is to try break into the top-100 in the world rankings and get into the US PGA in August - that remains the biggest goal," he added.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)