Nienaber, Blaauw tied at the top as thunder storm stops play at Joburg Open
JOHANNESBURG – South Africans Wilco Nienaber and Jacques Blaauw were tied on 12-under when the second round of the Joburg Open was suspended due to dangerous weather on Friday.
Overnight co-leader Nienaber had made five birdies and a single bogey in the first 14 holes of his round when the hooter sounded at 3.50pm local time, while Blaauw was also on 12-under after firing an eagle, six birdies and one bogey over 16 holes.
Canadian Aaron Cockerill was the leader in the clubhouse on 10-under after the early starter followed up Thursday’s opening 64 with a 68.
Nienaber did not get off to the best of starts, dropping a shot at the second after failing to get on the green in two.
But he bounced back in style, notching birdies at each of the next three holes to grab a share of the lead.
After a good par save from around eight feet at the eighth, the 20-year-old holed his 18-foot birdie putt on the ninth to move to 11-under and grab the outright lead.
Nienaber got into tree trouble off the 10th tee but went on to make a valuable par thanks to a lovely third shot.
He gave himself an unlikely birdie opportunity at the long 12th after playing a delightful third shot from the other side of the third tee, but he was not able to convert his putt from the fringe.
Nienaber took advantage of the long 14th from close range to grab a share of the lead alongside countryman Blaauw before the suspension.
⛳️| @JacquesBlaauw chats to the media as he scores eight under for the day - leaving him on 1⃣3⃣ under for the tournament. 🏆#GreatnessBeginsHere | #JoburgOpen | #SunshineTour pic.twitter.com/S6uJLgRf7s— Sunshine Tour (@Sunshine_Tour) November 20, 2020
Blaauw opened his second round with a birdie but gave the shot straight back at the second.
After making a birdie at the long fourth, Blaauw got another from eight feet on the sixth to move to seven under.
The 34-year-old closed the front nine with a ten foot birdie on the ninth before reeling off back to back gains on the 11th and 12th.
And when he holed a lengthy eagle putt on the par five 14th, Blaauw moved to 12 under.
He gave himself another birdie chance at the 16th but his 12 foot effort hit the hole and did not drop.
African News Agency (ANA)