Wilco Nienaber will go in search of his first professional win at the same venue he secured the South African Amateur Championship title less than 12 months ago, when the RAM Cape Town Open gets under way from February 6-9.
The South African, who began his first full season on the European Challenge Tour with a second-place finish at the Limpopo Championship last week, secured the coveted national amateur title at this week’s co-host venue King David Mowbray Golf Club in February 2019, shortly before turning professional.
The tournament, which marks the first time the Challenge Tour has visited Cape Town, will be played across two venues in the ‘Mother City’, Royal Cape Golf Club and King David Mowbray Golf Club, with the latter of particular significance to the long-hitting teenager.
“It is great to be back in Cape Town after being in the bush and it’s a city I’ve managed to have some success in over the years,” he said. “I played my first Under 19s junior event at King David Mowbray Golf Club when I was maybe only 11 year old and then the first time I came back after that event was for the South African Amateur last year, which I was able to win.”
The 19-year-old is playing his first full season on the Challenge Tour in 2020 after securing his card at European Tour Qualifying School and is looking to follow in the footsteps of compatriots Trevor Immelman and Louis Oosthuizen by securing his promotion to the European Tour.
“To finish second in the opening event of the season was fantastic and I couldn’t have asked for much more than that. My goal is to get a European Tour card at the end of the season, so to be in contention in the opening event gives you a lot of confidence going forward.
“I know Brandon Grace and Louis Oosthuizen were both on the Challenge Tour and I have had the opportunity and privilege to play with both. To see them play and where they are in their careers after being on the Challenge Tour, as well as Brooks Koepka, gives you confidence you are doing the right things.”
The RAM Cape Town Open will be contested between 204 players from both the Challenge Tour and Southern African-based Sunshine Tour, with the top 60 and ties set to compete for the title at Royal Cape Golf Club over the weekend.
Nienaber gets his first round started at 7:30am local time at King David Mowbray Golf Club alongside fellow teenagers Nicolai Højgaard and Jayden Schaper, with day one getting under way at 6:40am.