S. Africa’s Rama has 1-shot lead at Joburg Open

World No. 1,214 Nikhil Rama is the surprise leader after Round 2 of the DP World Tour’s Joburg Open, carding an eight-under par 62 at the Houghton Golf Club on Friday, 1 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 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).

“Coming into this week the goal was to make the cut, but I know I can compete on any tour,” Rama said after his opening round.

“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 bogies allowed Rama to take the lead into the weekend.

“I had a game plan 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 game plan over the weekend will be the same as today: driver everywhere and attack.”

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