Nienaber leads Tour Championship as Blaauw chases at Serengeti

Apr 11, 2024 | Featured, Sunshine Tour

By Michael Vlismas for Sunshine Tour

Wilco Nienaber has made another strong push for a second Sunshine Tour title after opening with a five-under-par 67 to lead the first round of the season-ending Tour Championship delivered by The Courier Guy on Thursday.

Nienaber made the best possible start as he birdied his opening three holes at Serengeti Estates and ended the day with a one-stroke lead over the in-form Jacques Blaauw and Luca Filippi.

Nienaber shared the first-round lead in last week’s Limpopo Championship before finishing tied 13th, and a seventh-place finish in February’s SDC Open suggests he’s moving closer to adding to his 2021 victory in the Dimension Data Pro-Am.

Similarly, Blaauw is playing some of the most consistent golf of his career as he finds himself challenging for the second week in succession on the Sunshine Tour.

He led through three rounds of the Limpopo Championship before finishing second, and is delighted to have another shot at a title this week.

“Last week was fun. It wasn’t the result I wanted but I’m playing good golf and it feels like I’m close,” said Blaauw.

“I haven’t had the best results the last three years but I haven’t stopped working hard. I’ve made a few subtle swing changes as well. It’s good to see it paying off. It was great to be in the hunt last week and I want to keep on going.”

The Serengeti course was playing long with the amount of rain it’s taken on over the past few days.

“It is playing long, but it’s in great condition. The greens are running beautifully and there wasn’t much wind as well because it can blow here,” said Blaauw.

Ryan van Velzen, who currently leads the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit delivered by The Courier Guy, opened with a level-par 72. And Robin Williams, who leads the Fortress Rookie of the Year standings, signed for a two-under-par 70.

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