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Nikhil Rama's Spectacular 62 Propels Him to the Top On Day Two of Joburg Open

Nikhil Rama stood on the 18th green of the Joburg Open, surrounded by the vibrant energy of the crowd. The sun dipped low in the African sky, casting a warm glow over the fairways that had become the canvas of his breakthrough moment. The 22-year-old South African, who once felt like a spectator in his own family's golfing tradition, now found himself at the center of a golfing fairytale.


His journey began as a young boy, trailing behind his dad, uncles, and cousins as they navigated the undulating greens. Golf was a family affair, a tradition that left Nikhil feeling like an outsider. Yet, rather than resigning to the sidelines, he picked up a club and embarked on a journey that would redefine his connection to the game.


Nikhil's golfing prowess blossomed over the years. From the rolling hills of Johannesburg to the competitive arena of SA Kids Golf tournaments, he honed his skills. Representing Central Gauteng and competing in GolfRSA events became stepping stones on his path. But it wasn't until 2019, under the guidance of Hendrik Buhrmann, that Nikhil's game truly flourished. In 2020, he took the leap into the professional realm, unsure of what the future held.


The Sunshine Tour recognized Nikhil's talent and welcomed him into the Papwa Sewgolum Class, a platform for transformation players. The 2023 season had been a breakout one for him, marked by six top-10 finishes, including a notable fourth place in the Vodacom Origins of Golf Final. This success granted him a coveted spot in the Joburg Open, a tournament that embraced transformation golfers.


As he stood atop the leaderboard after a scintillating bogey-free 62, Nikhil was living a dream he hadn't dared to entertain. Thriston Lawrence, a former champion, trailed him by just one stroke, setting the stage for a gripping weekend of golf. Dean Burmester, with a stellar 62 of his own, and Jacques Kruyswijk, just three shots off the lead, added to the drama.


For Nikhil, the weekend wasn't just about golf; it was a potential turning point in his life. The echoes of past Joburg Open champions, who found breakthroughs that altered their trajectories, lingered in the air. Lawrence's triumph in 2021 and Dan Bradbury's in 2022 were chapters in the tournament's history that Nikhil could now contribute to.


The significance of the moment wasn't lost on him. The pressure, the fans, the final group on Saturday – it was a whirlwind of emotions. Yet, Nikhil embraced it all with infectious excitement. His journey, from feeling like an outsider to leading prestigious tournament, was a testament to resilience and dedication.


As he reflected on his stellar performance, Nikhil acknowledged the magnitude of the opportunity before him. Six birdies and a spectacular eagle on the third showcased not just skill but readiness for the challenges ahead. The familiar course, known well by his caddie Shannon, served as the backdrop for Nikhil's golfing symphony.


With humility and a touch of humor, Nikhil shared his plans for the evening – a casual game of Fortnite with friends. It was a glimpse into the grounded personality that had endeared him to fans and fellow players alike. The boy who once felt left out was now on the brink of a potential new home in the world of golf.


The weekend unfolded as a tapestry of suspense, with each swing of the club potentially rewriting Nikhil Rama's destiny. The fairways of the Joburg Open became the stage for a young man's transformation from an outsider to a contender. As the sun set on the African horizon, the golfing world waited to see if Nikhil's story would add another captivating chapter to the rich history of the Joburg Open.


Scores:
127 - Nikhil Rama 65 62
128 - Thriston Lawrence 62 66
130 - Dean Burmester 68 62, Jacques Kruyswijk 66 64
131 - Zander Lombard 66 65
132 - Jaco Prinsloo 66 66
133 - Darren Fichardt 66 67
135 - Manuel Elvira 71 64, Dan Bradbury 66 69, Tapio Pulkkanen 69 66, Christiaan Bezuidenhout 69 66, Dylan Frittelli 68 67, Dylan Mostert 68 67, Ross Fisher 70 65, Deon Germishuys 68 67, Chase Hanna 69 66
136 - Andy Sullivan 66 70, Jayden Schaper 66 70, Sam Bairstow 72 64, Casey Jarvis 68 68, Bryce Easton 69 67, Jeppe Kristian Andersen 70 66
137 - Combrinck Smit 71 66, Frederic Lacroix 67 70, Oliver Bekker 70 67, Stuart Manley 66 71, Louis de Jager 69 68, Adri Arnaus 68 69, Daniel Brown 69 68, Alexander Knappe 69 68, Joakim Lagergren 68 69
138 - Jason Roets 72 66, Merrick Bremner 68 70, Stephen Gallacher 66 72, Ryan Van Velzen 68 70, Dylan Naidoo 69 69, Dale Whitnell 69 69, Adrien Saddier 72 66, Scott Jamieson 71 67, Jaco Ahlers 69 69, MJ Viljoen 67 71, Niklas Norgaard 71 67
139 - Gavin Green 70 69, Francesco Laporta 71 68, Luca Filippi 71 68, Luke Jerling 70 69, Jake Redman 69 70, Shubhankar Sharma 70 69, Jesper Svensson 66 73, Hennie du Plessis 71 68, Neil Schietekat 70 69, Keenan Davidse 72 67, Adam Blomme 70 69, Oliver Wilson 68 71, Aaron Cockerill 69 70, Jacques P de Villiers 70 69, David Ravetto 69 70
140 - Matteo Manassero 70 70, Darius van Driel 67 73, Kyle Barker 71 69, Benjamin Follett-Smith 72 68, Rupert Kaminski 70 70, Anthony Michael 69 71, John Gough 71 69, Jaco Van Zyl 67 73, JC Ritchie 70 70, Haydn Porteous 71 69, Lucas Vacarisas 71 69, Thomas Aiken 69 71, Ashley Chesters 68 72, Jacques Blaauw 70 70, Malcolm Mitchell 67 73
Missed the cut:-
141 - Danie Van Niekerk 72 69, Max Rottluff 72 69, Clement Sordet 67 74, Charl Schwartzel 73 68, Renato Paratore 69 72, Wilco Nienaber 72 69, Kristian Krogh Johannessen 69 72, Louis Albertse 70 71, Pedro Figueiredo 69 72, Rourke van der Spuy 71 70, Andrea Pavan 69 72, Alejandro Del Rey 72 69, David Law 73 68, Trevor Fisher Jnr 72 69
142 - Anton Karlsson 72 70, Sean Bradley 71 71, Romain Langasque 69 73, Jeong Weon Ko 73 69, Ivan Cantero 74 68, Jonathan Goth-Rasmussen 70 72, Marco Penge 71 71, Ricardo Gouveia 68 74, Robin Williams 76 66, Will Enefer 70 72, Makhetha Mazibuko 73 69
143 - Matthew Southgate 69 74, Lorenzo Scalise 74 69, Kalle Samooja 69 74, Ugo Coussaud 70 73
144 - Jean Hugo 76 68, Marc Warren 69 75, Martin Vorster 74 70, Lauri Ruuska 72 72, Hennie Otto 74 70, Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez 75 69, Adrian Otaegui 71 73, Santiago Tarrio 70 74, Lyle Rowe 71 73, Joel Girrbach 73 71
145 - Vaughn van Deventer 74 71, Martin Rohwer 74 71, Joshua Berry 73 72, Shaun Norris 72 73, Peter Karmis 77 68
146 - Gerhard Pepler 74 72, Richard Joubert 74 72, Tristen Strydom 73 73, Espen Kofstad 73 73, Michael Hollick 74 72, Rhys West 73 73, Rhys Enoch 72 74, Soren Broholt Lind 73 73
147 - Brandon Stone 73 74, Daniel van Tonder 71 76, Toto Thimba Jnr 74 73, Christiaan Basson 74 73, Heinrich Bruiners 70 77, Pieter Moolman 80 67, Karabo Mokoena 75 72
148 - Wade Jacobs 70 78, James Hart du Preez 73 75, Mateusz Gradecki 74 74, Jordan Duminy 77 71
149 - Hennie O'Kennedy 75 74, Yurav Premlall 76 73, Ruan Korb 75 74, Kyle De Beer 79 70, Musiwalo Nethunzwi 74 75, Nick Bachem 76 73
150 - Dayne Moore 77 73, Robson Chinhoi 72 78, Wynand Dingle 75 75, Stefan Wears-Taylor 76 74, DK Kim 72 78
151 - Kyle McClatchie 77 74
152 - James Morrison 77 75, Joachim B. Hansen 79 73, Albert Venter 76 76
153 - Siyanda Mwandla 76 77
157 - Jamie Rutherford 79 78
158 - Jastice Mashego 77 81, Sentanio Minnie 85 73
161 - Tristin Galant 81 80
WDN - Kiradech Aphibarnrat 74 WDN


Edited by: Vicky Muzio


Photo by: Sunshine Tour


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