South African golfer Nikhil Rama rises to the top of the leaderboard at the Joburg Open after hitting eight-under 62 in the second round on Friday; “What can I say, it was a great round” Rama said
Last Updated: 24/11/23 6:20pm
World No 1,214 Nikhil Rama is the surprise leader after round two of the Joburg Open, carding an eight-under-par 62 at the Houghton Golf Club, one shot ahead of compatriot Thriston Lawrence.
South African Rama, 22, followed up his opening-round 65 with six birdies and an eagle on the par four third hole as he seeks a first career title as a professional.
His previous best finish on tour was 33rd on the same course last year.
He came within a few inches of another eagle on the par-four fourth but his iron into the green narrowly missed the hole and he had to settle for a birdie, but he will be delighted after a rocky start to his opening round on Thursday.
Rama is 13 under par for the tournament, one shot ahead of Lawrence (66) and two in front of the home pair of Dean Burmester (62) and Jacques Kruyswijk (64).
“What can I say, it was a great round,” Rama said. “It’s my lowest score on tour so far so I’m really excited about that. I’m enjoying the pressure, enjoying the fans, which is great, and just trying to have fun.
“Coming into this week the goal was to make the cut but I know I can compete on any tour. I’ve been playing well lately so I’m looking forward to the rest of the week. I was just enjoying myself out there with my caddie Shannon, it’s great fun.”
Lawrence was overnight leader going into Friday but a mixed round that included an eagle, four birdies and two bogeys allowed Rama to take the lead into the weekend.
“I had a gameplan to be aggressive as always,” Lawrence said. “It wasn’t easy this morning, it was quite windy and I had to really scramble some of the holes.
“I managed to make a nice few saves out there and get the momentum going so I’m happy with four under. My gameplan over the weekend will be the same as today: driver everywhere and attack.”
Defending champion Dan Bradbury, who led from start to finish in just his third DP World Tour event 12 months ago – after receiving a last-minute sponsor’s invite – is part of a nine-way tie for eighth on five under after carding a second round of 69.
The Joburg Open is the season-opening event on the European tour.
The 2024 season began on Thursday, only four days after the 2023 one finished in Dubai.