Shubhankar Sharma posted a final-round 69 to win his first European Tour title at the weather-delayed Joburg Open.
The Indian entered Sunday’s final round at Randpark Golf Club with a five-shot lead but as he’d reached the eighth green play was suspended due to storms.
When play resumed this morning, the 21-year old cleaned up his par on 8, followed by a birdie on No. 9 to turn at 33. Sharma then cruised home with nine-consecutive pars for a 3-under 69 to reach 23 under, good for a three-shot victory over South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen (66).
“It feels absolutely wonderful to have won this week. I actually wasn’t going to come here about a week ago and I decided to come so I’m really happy that I came. This is my first time in South Africa and I don’t think I’m ever going forget my first time in South Africa,” Sharma said.
“I hit the ball good and I putted really well but the key up-and-downs I made over the first three days, I think I only missed two up-and-downs over the whole week.”
Van Rooyen, meanwhile, was left with a tap-in birdie on No. 9 when play resumed which got him to 19 under – just three back of Sharma. But a back nine of one birdie against eight pars saw the South Africa fall a few strokes short.
Shaun Norris will join compatriot Van Rooyen, and Sharma, at The Open this summer, as he finished 17 under alongside Finn Tapio Pulkkanen. By virtue of a higher world ranking, Norris won the tiebreaker for the third ticket to Carnoustie in July.
FINAL TOP 10
1 Shubhankar Sharma -23
2 Erik van Rooyen -20
3 Shaun Norris -17
3 Tapio Pulkkanen -17
5 Marcus Armitage -15
6 Joachim B Hansen -12
6 James Morrison -13
8 Charlie Ford -12
8 Paul Peterson -12
8 Jin-ho Choi -11
8 Daniel Greene -12
8 Christofer Blomstrand -12
VIDEO: WINNING PUTT
THREE TICKETS TO CARNOUSTIE
“Even today, the up-and-downs I made on the tenth, the 13th and the 15th were very crucial. Once in a while you just have to make a few par saves to get a round going and I did just that the whole week.”
– Shubhankar Sharma
Credits: European Tour Media, Getty Images