Pickering pushes to pole at Joburg Junior Open

Pecanwood’s Slade Pickering surged to the top of the first round leaderboard in the Joburg Junior Open courtesy of an eagle and seven birdies at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club on Thursday.

The 18-year-old from North West fired a stunning eight-under-par 64 at the East Course to open up a three shot lead in the final Sunshine Tour Junior Series event of the season.

Pickering collected his first birdie at the opening hole and added further gains at three, four and six before he holed out for an eagle at the par five eighth. He was six under at the turn, but moved to eight under with birdies at 11 and 14.

A birdie finish helped to overturn a bogey at 15, the only blemish on Pickering’s otherwise flawless performance.

Keanu Pestana from Central Gauteng and Vaughn van Deventer from Ekurhuleni lead the chasing park, who will have their work cut out to catch the first round pacesetter.

Pestana also dropped only one shot for a 67, while Van Deventer overturned three bogeys after an eagle start with seven birdies to grab a share of second.

Reigning Nomads Boys U-17 champion Wilco Nienaber from Free State posted a four under 68 to tie for fourth with Luke Mayo from KwaZulu-Natal and Western Province’s Luke Pienaar.

Jayden Schaper, bidding for a fourth Junior title after trophy finishes in the Nomads SA Boys U-15 Championship, the Tshwane Junior Open and Nomads Order of Merit Modderfontein, returned a 69 to share seventh with fellow Ekurhuleni junior Liam van Deventer, Gerhard Pepler from Limpopo and Brandon Geere from Mpumalanga.

64 Slade Pickering (North West)
67 Keanu Pestana (Central Gauteng); Vaughn van Deventer (Ekurhuleni)
68 Wilco Nienaber (Free State); Luke Mayo (KwaZulu-Natal); Luke Pienaar (Western Province)
69 Gerhard Pepler (Limpopo); Liam van Deventer (Ekurhuleni); Jayden Schaper (Ekurhuleni); Brandon Geere (Mpumalanga)
70 Kieron van Wyk (Central Gauteng); Robin Williams (Britain)
71 Alessio Graziani (Gauteng North); Haydn Driver (Central Gauteng); Luke Brown (Central Gauteng); Dawid Opperman (Gauteng North); Bradley Fox (Central Gauteng); Dino Capazario (Gauteng North)

Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.

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