Nienaber sets SA Boys U-17 pace at Kingswood
Free State junior Wilco Nienaber overcame a slight stumble on the back nine at Kingswood Golf Estate to pull one stroke clear of the chasing pack in round one of the Nomads SA Boys U-17 Championship in George on Tuesday.
The 16-year-old Bloemfontein golfer fired a three-under-par 69 to finish ahead of Southern Cape local Martin Vorster and Daniel Cronje from Boland.
Gauteng’s Keanu Pestana opened with a one under 71 to join Sebastian Terblanche from KwaZulu-Natal and Oubaai pair Christo Lamprecht and Barend Botha in joint fourth.
Nienaber cruised to a 10 shot victory in the Nomads SA Boys U-15 Championship at Rustenburg Golf Club last year and looked like he could be the man to beat this week when he raced to the turn in six under.
After an eagle-birdie combination at the third and fourth holes, he notched a trio of birdies at the sixth, seventh and eighth, but gave four shots back when he bookended a double bogey at 11 with drops at 10 and 12.
The Freestater settled with pars over the next five holes before closing with a birdie two at the 18th. Cronje mixed five birdies with three bogeys and Vorster offset a double bogey and drops at three, five and 17 with seven birdies.
Lamprecht, gunning for back-to-back victories after lifting the Dimension Data Junior Open title at Fancourt last week, countered a dismal start with a solid back nine to finish within striking distance of the leader. The Louis Oosthuizen Junior Academy player double-bogeyed the 10th and dropped the 18th to erase a lone birdie at 16, but he reeled in gains at one, three and five to get within two shots of Nienaber.
FIRST ROUND SCORES (TOP 10)
69 Wilco Nienaber
70 Daniel Cronje; Martin Vorster
71 Keanu Pestana; Barend Botha; Christo Lamprecht; Sebastian Terblanche
72 Bradley de Beer; Haydn Driver; Samual Mckenzie; Hendrik Naude; Chris Woollam; Antoine Sale; Jethro Newton
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.