Mother Nature made life tough for the juniors competing in the Nomads SA Boys U-17 Championship in George, but Free State golfer Wilco Nienaber hung tough to preserve his overnight lead in Tuesday’s second round at Kingswood Golf Estate.
The 16-year-old Bloemfontein golfer followed an opening 69 with a 71 to finish one shot clear of Daniel Cronje from Boland at four-under-par 140.
With the mercury hovering around nine 10 degrees and a stiff north-easterly wind terrorizing the field, Nienaber began the day with a one shot advantage over Cronje and Southern Cape local Martin Vorster. He mixed four birdies and three bogeys to reach the turn at four-under-par. Cronje, meanwhile, bogeyed the first, but began closing the gap on Nienaber with birdies at the seventh and ninth. When the Free State junior dropped another shot at the 10th, Cronje catapulted to the top spot at four-under-par with his third gain at the par-four 11th.
Nienaber dropped two shots back with a bogey at the 14th, but Cronje also faltered and a bogey at the par-four 15th which cut his lead to just one shot. Knowing he needed a strong finish to remain in command, Nienaber reeled in back-to-back birdies at the 15th and 16th and closed with successive pars for his 71. Cronje followed the drop at the 15th with a trio of pars for a 71 and sole second on three-under-par. KwaZulu-Natal’s Chris Woollam moved into third at one-under-par with a 71.
Reigning Nomads SA Boys Under-19 Stroke Play champion Deon Germishuys, Bradley de Beer from Southern Cape and last week’s Dimension Data Junior Open winner Christo Lamprecht tied for fourth at one-over-par after posting respective rounds of 71, 73 and 74.
SECOND ROUND SCORES
140 Wilco Nienaber 69 71
141 Daniel Cronje 70 71
143 Chris Woollam 72 71
145 Deon Germishuys 74 71; Bradley de Beer 72 73; Christo Lamprecht 71 74
146 Sebastian Terblanche 71 75
By Lali Stander
Photo credit SAGA