Pickering storms to pole in Benoni

Slade Pickering is hunting consecutive victories on the South African Golf Association’s National Junior circuit after he soared into the lead in the Nomads Inland National Order of Merit with a sizzling second round nine-under-par 63 on Wednesday.

The North West junior clinched his first national title at the season-ending Joburg Junior Open at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington in December and brought his fine form to the season opener at Benoni Country Club.

Pickering spoiled a solid start with late bogeys at 15 and 17 to sign for a first round 72 and started his second tour six shots off the pace. Having gotten the rust off though, the 18-year-old plundered the Ekurhuleni layout with 10 birdies to open up a three shot lead at nine under 135.

Reigning Nomads SA Boys U-17 champion Wilco Nienaber from Free State moved into second with rounds of 70 and 68 and first round leader Otto van Buynder from Gauteng North slipped to third on five under after following his opening 66 with a 73.

Local favourites Jayden Schaper and John Louis Liebenberg are a further stroke adrift.

Second Round Leaderboard (top 10)
135 Slade Pickering 72 63
138 Wilco Nienaber 70 68
139 Otto van Buynder 66 73
142 Jayden Schaper 72 70; John Louis Liebenberg 69 73
143 Nikhil Gopal 69 74
144 Franklin Manchest 71 73; Vaughn van Deventer 70 74; Christiaan Burke 68 76
145 Keegan Mclachlan 75 70; Robin Williams GBR 75 70; Brandon Geere 73 72; Barend Botha 73 72; Shaun Jones 71 74

PHOTO – Slade Pickering; credit Ernest Blignault.

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

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