JOHANNESBURG — South African golfer Nikhil Rama rose to the top of the leaderboard at the Joburg Open after hitting an 8-under 62 in the second round on Friday.

Rama, who is ranked No. 1,214, made an eagle and six birdies at Houghton Golf Club in his 10th European tour event. He leads Thriston Lawrence, another South African, by one shot at 13-under 127 total.

“What can I say, it was a great round,” the 22-year-old Rama said. “It’s my lowest score on tour so far so I’m really excited about that. I’m enjoying the pressure, enjoying the fans, which is great, and just trying to have fun.”

Lawrence, who won the event in 2021, had a three-shot lead after the first round. He shot 4-under in the second round after bogeying twice and making one eagle.

The Joburg Open is the season-opening event on the European tour. The 2024 season began on Thursday only four days after the 2023 one finished in Dubai.

The event marks the start of three straight tournaments taking place in South Africa and co-sanctioned with the country’s Sunshine Tour.

Three places in the British Open are available for the leading three players not already exempt who make the cut.

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