Teenage sensation Jayden Schaper heads into the weekend of the South African Open hosted by the City of Joburg just one shot off the lead and looking to become the first amateur to win this title since 1959.
The 18-year-old climbed to 10-under-par for the championship with a second round of 67 on Randparkâ€™s Firethorn course on Friday. He sits in a group of five players including Thriston Lawrence, Sam Horsfield, Jaco Ahlers and Trevor Fisher Jnr. just one shot off the 11-under-par lead of Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland, who signed for a 66 on Firethorn.
Schaper is seeking to make history as the first amateur since Denis Hutchinson over 60 years ago to win the South African Open.
â€œItâ€™s just special to be near the top of the leaderboard and having played with one of my idols Louis Oosthuizen over the past two days,â€ said the countryâ€™s top-ranked amateur, who last year won a host of titles on home soil as well as the prestigious Junior Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in the United States.
â€œThe way I see it, itâ€™s the same golf course and just a different field. Iâ€™ll just treat it as any amateur event Iâ€™ve played in. There will be a bit of nerves, but I kind of enjoy that. Iâ€™m just looking forward to the weekend. It would be pretty special to match what Mr Hutchinson did, but Iâ€™m just going to take it one shot at a time and if the opportunity comes Iâ€™ll try my best to take it.â€
Defending champion Louis Oosthuizen heads into the weekend three shots off the lead despite what he said was a frustrating 69 on Firethorn on Friday.
â€œI hit it as good as I can but I just didnâ€™t make any putts. I started doubting my lines and then made a few bad strokes. But itâ€™s still fine. Iâ€™m three behind going into the weekend and thatâ€™s a good spot to be,â€ said Oosthuizen.
Fellow South Africans Branden Grace and George Coetzee are also just three off the lead.