Wilco Nienaber in position to become youngest winner of Joburg Open

20-year-old South African will take one-shot lead into the final round

Wilco Nienaber of South Africa hits his tee-shot on the 17th hole during the third round of the Joburg Open at Randpark Golf Club. Photograph: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Wilco Nienaber of South Africa hits his tee-shot on the 17th hole during the third round of the Joburg Open at Randpark Golf Club. Photograph: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

 

South African Wilco Nienaber opened up a one-shot lead heading into the final round as he looked to become the youngest ever winner of the Joburg Open.

The 20-year-old entered day three a shot behind Jacques Blaauw but, as his countryman dropped back, Nienaber carded a 67 to get to 16 under par, a shot clear of Dane Joachim B Hansen.

England’s Richard Bland carded a 68 to sit in a tie for third at 11 under, alongside Blaauw and two more South Africans in Shaun Norris and Brandon Stone.

Nienaber, who leads the European Tour in driving distance this season at an average of 337 yards, only turned professional last year and could claim a first win in just his 23rd appearance, while Hansen, 10 years his senior, has 145 appearances under his belt without a victory.

“It felt like a struggle to be honest,” Nienaber told europeantour.com. “But around the turn I holed a few crucial putts which really kept the momentum going and from there I just kept going. I’m pleased with the round.

“It’s going to be great. It’s going to be the first time that I’m in that situation and I’m just going to embrace it and enjoy the day.”

Hansen holed an 18-foot putt on the par-five fourth for an eagle and added birdies on the fifth, sixth, eighth and ninth to turn in 29 and lead by two.

A dropped shot on the 11th stalled his momentum and Nienaber took control as he recovered from a slow start with a gain on the ninth and a hat-trick of birdies from the 12th.

It looked like he could establish a commanding lead, but Hansen birdied the 14th and last to card a 64 and keep right in touch.

Bland, 47, has played 466 events without a victory and he sandwiched birdies on the fourth, fifth, ninth, 10th and 14th with dropped shots on the third and 18th.

Northern Ireland’s Jonathan Caldwell made two bogeys in his first three holes but two birdies helped him record a level-par 71 as he remained on three under for the tournament.

Leaderboard

British and Irish unless stated, par 71, (a) denotes amateur

197 Wilco Nienaber (Rsa) 63 67 67

198 Joachim B. Hansen (Den) 66 68 64

202 Jacques Blaauw (Rsa) 66 63 73, Richard Bland 67 67 68, Shaun Norris (Rsa) 63 70 69, Brandon Stone (Rsa) 70 68 64

203 Aaron Cockerill (Can) 64 68 71

204 Zander Lombard (Rsa) 69 65 70, Steve Surry 67 71 66

205 Niklas Lemke (Swe) 68 66 71, Martin Rohwer (Rsa) 69 70 66, Darren Fichardt (Rsa) 67 69 69, Scott Jamieson 67 70 68, Julian Suri (USA) 66 68 71, Dean Burmester (Rsa) 72 68 65, Romain Wattel (Fra) 68 68 69, Bryce Easton (Rsa) 69 69 67

206 Neil Schietekat (Rsa) 69 67 70, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Esp) 65 70 71, Lars Van Meijel (Ned) 70 69 67

207 Rhys Enoch 65 69 73, Chase Hanna (USA) 69 68 70, Joel Sjoholm (Swe) 69 71 67, Hennie Du Plessis (Rsa) 71 70 66, Estiaan Conradie (Rsa) 68 68 71, Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa) 68 69 70, Jayden Trey Schaper (Rsa) 67 68 72, Scott Vincent (Zim) 69 67 71, Oliver Farr 66 68 73

208 Toby Tree 72 68 68, Richard McEvoy 65 75 68, Antoine Rozner (Fra) 69 70 69, Jaco Prinsloo (Rsa) 68 72 68

209 Lorenzo Scalise (Ita) 67 70 72, Matthew Jordan 69 68 72, Grant Forrest 72 68 69, Jake Redman (Rsa) 68 73 68, James Du Preez (a) (Rsa) 71 67 71, Jbe Kruger (Rsa) 68 72 69, Peter Karmis (Rsa) 72 68 69, Johannes Veerman (USA) 64 71 74, Adrian Otaegui (Esp) 69 70 70, Matthew Spacey (Rsa) 72 68 69

210 Marcus Armitage 69 71 70, Hennie Otto (Rsa) 69 68 73, Daniel Greene (Rsa) 71 69 70, Benjamin Poke (Den) 71 70 69, Marcel Siem (Ger) 66 71 73, Jonathan Caldwell 69 70 71

211 Steven Brown 71 66 74, Ruan Ger Smidt (Rsa) 69 72 70, Dale Whitnell 69 71 71, (a) Louis Albertse (Rsa) 70 69 72, Justin Walters (Rsa) 73 68 70, Louis De Jager (Rsa) 68 69 74

212 Adilson Da Silva (Bra) 65 74 73, Daniel Van Tonder (Rsa) 69 69 74, Yi-Keun Chang (Kor) 69 71 72, Ryan Lumsden 69 72 71, Alvaro Quiros (Esp) 70 71 71

213 Oliver Wilson 73 68 72, Heinrich Bruiners (Rsa) 70 65 78, Ruan Korb (Rsa) 70 70 73, Daan Huizing (Ned) 69 70 74, MJ Viljoen (Rsa) 69 72 72, Deon Germishuys (a) (Rsa) 67 74 72, Keith Horne (Rsa) 71 69 73, Gavin Green (Mal) 66 71 76, Ewan Ferguson 71 68 74

214 Anton Haig (Rsa) 69 72 73, Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez (Esp) 70 71 73, Andre Ger Decker (Rsa) 70 68 76, Pedro Figueiredo (Por) 72 69 73, Garrick Higgo (Rsa) 68 71 75, Richard Joubert (Rsa) 73 67 74

215 Ockie Strydom (Rsa) 69 72 74, Jack Harrison 71 70 74

216 Jack Senior 68 73 75, Benjamin Follet-Smith (Zim) 65 72 79

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