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Rookie Nienaber leads the Joburg Open

South African Wilco Nienaber overcame a stuttering start to sink three successive birdies on the back nine and card a 67 to take a slender one shot lead after the third round of the Joburg Open.

The 20-year-old big hitter, who turned professional last year and has yet to finish in the top three in a European Tour event, is on 16-under-par after a round at the Randpark Golf Club on Saturday that included six birdies and two bogeys, the latter both coming in his first five holes.

Dane Joachim Hansen, also seeking a maiden win on the tour, is a shot back and was in blistering form with his putter on the front nine, carding four birdies and an eagle.

But a dropped shot on the par-four 11th was a blemish on what was otherwise an impressive round of 64.

A further four shots back on 11-under are a quartet of players tied for third, including 2016 South African Open winner Brandon Stone (64), England’s Richard Bland (68) and overnight leader Jacques Blaauw, who stumbled to a round of 73.

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