In-form Central Gauteng amateur Kieron van Wyk was targeting a maiden win on the Sunshine Tour Junior Series as he headed into Sunday’s final round of the Africa Junior Open at the Mantis Collection’s Fish River Resort near Port Alfred.
Just over a week ago, Van Wyk’s valuable contribution aided Curro Aurora to back-to-back victories in the SA High Schools Championship at Devonvale Golf and Wine Estate and he brought that winning form to Ndlambe on Saturday.
Rounds of 71 and 69 shot the Central Gauteng junior to the top of the pile on four-under-par 140.
Taking advantage of the sunny and gentle conditions, Van Wyk fired six birdies during his first trip around the Gary Player-designed championship layout, but gave shots back with a bogey at the 1st and double bogeys at 6th and 9th.
He made a fine start to the second round with a birdie at the 10th and closed the gap even further on first-round pacesetter Kian Rose with birdie number two at the par-five 16th.
The South African Golf Development Board member pulled well clear of the field with three birdies on the bounce after the turn, but cut his advantage dramatically when he made another double at the par-four 6th.
Van Wyk started the final round with Western Province golfer Samuel Simpson hot on his heels and Ekurhuleni duo Warrick Purchase and Casey Jarvis looming large in his rear-view mirror.
Simpson, who won the first Sunshine Tour Junior Series event – the Tshwane Junior Open – at Irene Country Club in July, trails Van Wyk by just one shot after rounds of 72 and 69.
Inaugural Bridge Fund Managers Junior Series winner Purchase went low on the last day of last year’s event and posted a 69 to tie for sixth. The Benoni golfer is two off the pace after rounds of 72 and 70.
Jarvis could be the danger man.
The reigning English Boys Under-14 champion won the Nomads SA Boys Under-15 title in March and scored a come-from-behind victory in the Nomads SA Boys Under-17 Championship with a final round eight-under 64 at Middelburg Country Club in July. He sits in fourth at one-under after rounds of 72 and 70.
Ryan van Velzen, another Ekurhuleni junior who reached the finals of the first Bridge Fund Managers Junior Series, finished in fifth place on even-par 144. Rose from Central Gauteng followed an opening 69 with a second round 77, but he is still in the fight at one-over 145.
Photo: Van Wyk in action on Saturday, by Ernest Blignault
Second Round Scoreboard (top 20)
140 – Kieron van Wyk 71 69
141 – Samuel Simpson 72 69
142 – Warwick Purchase 72 70
143 – Casey Jarvis 72 71
144 – Ryan van Velzen 73 71
145 – Kian Rose 68 77
146 – Reece Coleman 77 69
149 – Nikhil Rama 76 73
150 – Kyle Kistensamy 77 73; Jordan Duminy 73 77
151 – Cole Stevens 79 72; Yurav Premlall 78 73
152 – Ayden Senger 77 75
153 – Malan Potgieter 79 74; Robert Shearer 78 75; Damian Osner 77 76
154 – Alexander Pienaar 80 74; Benjamin Brent 79 75; Sean Cronje 74 80
155 – Lumkile Mantshiyo 82 73; Christopher Long 76 79