The final round of this year’s Dimension Data Junior Open is shaping up for a mouth-watering finale after local heroes Christo Lamprecht and Martin Vorster tied for the lead in the U19 competition and two-time SA U13 champion Amilkar Bhana drew six shots clear in the U15 Challenge in George on Thursday.
Lamprecht fired a flawless seven-under-par 65 at the Outeniqua Course at Fancourt to set the second round target at nine-under 135.
Overnight leader Vorster responded with a bogey-free 66 to take back a share of pole position.
The GolfRSA National Squad duo recently returned to South Africa after strong performances abroad where Lamprecht won the East of Ireland Open Amateur and Vorster’s final round course record 61 in Japan helped the SA Boys team to a fifth-place finish in the Toyota Junior Golf World Cup.
This also marks the second time the Louis Oosthuizen Junior Golf Academy stablemates will go toe-to-toe on the Sunshine Tour Junior Series.
In October last year, Lamprecht beat Vorster by two shots in the Lion of Africa Junior Open at Clovelly and added a third trophy to his collection when he won the Joburg Junior Open in December.
‘I think it must be my turn,’ joked Vorster. ‘Christo and I have both been in the academy for years and we are good mates on and off the course. We also know each other’s games really well, so it will be a bit of a dogfight. All I can do is to stick to my process. But he won his Dimension Data Junior Open at Fancourt two years ago, so hopefully it’s my turn at Kingswood.’
Vorster had just one red number on his card in the first nine holes, but the putter warmed up on the homeward loop.
‘I birdied 10th, 13th and 15th to get to seven under,’ said the 16-year-old from Mossel Bay. ‘I knew Christo turned eight under, so I needed to birdie at least one of the last two holes to stay in touch.
‘I had 176 metres flag on 17th. The pin was front left and you can’t go for it because of the water left and in front. I hit 7-iron to the right side of the green and holed a 10-metre putt for birdie. At 18th, I hit a 3-wood down the middle and sand-wedge in. The ball pitched behind the hole and I made the six-metre putt for birdie.’
Lamprecht from George got off to a fast start.
‘I hit a good drive just short, chipped it to six foot and made the putt for birdie at the 1st,’ said the 17-year-old Outeniqua High scholar. ‘I hit probably my best drive of the day at the second, a soft 7-iron just short of the green and chipped it give. It was a great way to start.’
The former Sanlam SA Amateur champion added a birdie at the 6th and a trio of gains from the 8th moved him to seven under.
‘I made a good up-and-down for birdie at the 8th, holed a 10-footer at 9th and boxed another 10-footer at 10th,’ he said. ‘The putter went quiet. I made one more at 13th, but I missed chances at 16th and 17th. It’s great to go into the final round with Martin. And we’ve got Jordon Duminy, another Louis Oosthuizen Junior Golf Academy member, in our fourball as well. It should be a really good contest.’
Duminy and former Nomads SA Boys U13 champion Martin Galant from Western Province will both be in the final group. The pair tied for third on two under with Marcus Taylor from Central Gauteng.
The Southern Cape junior carded a three-under 69, Galant from South African Golf Development Board returned a 71 and Taylor from Dainfern signed for 72.
Dimension Data U15 Challenge
Bhana carded 71 at the Outeniqua Course at Fancourt on day one and started the second round at Kingswood Golf Estate in second, two behind Rori Nkosi from North West.
The 13-year-old Gauteng junior (pictured above) overhauled Nkosi for the lead with a birdie-birdie start.
Bhana cancelled a bogey seven at the very next hole to remain in pole position and erased another drop at the 11th with a birdie at the 13th. Despite finishing with successive bogeys, an even-par 72 left the Country Club Johannesburg golfer six shots clear on one-under 143.
Nkosi returned an 80 and moved to second. The Pecanwood junior is one shot clear of Matthew Dennis and Ian Snyman.
Dennis from Gauteng flew out of the blocks with an eagle-birdie-eagle start, but couldn’t maintain the form and returned a 74. Snyman from Gauteng North carded 77.
Meanwhile, the hole-in-one tally in the tournament swelled to three.
Kingswood junior Franco Gericke hit a perfectly timed 9-iron from 132 metres into the 18th hole at his home course and watched his ball drop for one, and Brendan Porter from Gauteng holed out with a 9-iron from 138 metres at the par-four 4th at the Outeniqua Course.
Dimension Data Junior Open Round Two Scores (top 20)
135 Christo Lamprecht Jnr 70 65; Martin Vorster 69 66
142 Jordan Duminy 73 69; Tristan Galant 71 71; Marcus Taylor 70 72
143 Ben van Wyk 74 69; Samuel Simpson 74 69
144 Oliver Goldhill 73 71; Tyran Snyders 71 73
145 Liam van Deventer 75 70; Daniel Cronje 73 72
146 Craig Louw 77 69; Kian Rose 74 72; Eben Spangenberg 74 72; Luhan Bester 73 73; Casey Jarvis 73 73
147 Yurav Premlall 76 71; Carl Mwale 71 76
148 Ayden Senger 78 70; Jurie Johannes Mostert 75 73
Dimension Data U15 Challenge Round 2 Scores (top 20)
143 Amilkar Bhana 71 72
149 Rorisang Nkosi 69 80
150 Matthew Dennis 76 74; Phil Snyman 73 77
151 Ivan Verster 74 77; Kayle Wykes 72 79; Dylan Melville 72 79
152 Jonathan Wilsenach 77 75; Stefano Marchetti 76 76; Jaden Deltel 74 78; Christopher Bagnall 72 80
153 Filip Sakota 74 79
155 Franco Gericke 82 73; Fabrizio de Abreu 75 80
156 Jordan Wessels 77 79; Angelo Keffers 77 79
157 Kieran Urquhart 82 75; Hunter Walker 78 79; James Alan Jarvis 77 80; Dujuan Snyman 76 81; Lyle Roche Pedro 72 85
Photos: Lamprecht (main picture) and Bhana in action, by Ernest Blignault