Harding seals maiden win

2010-10-15 15:36
Justin Harding (Gallo Images)
George - It was all smiles and tears at Oubaai as rookie Justin Harding held off several challenges to win his maiden Sunshine Tour title at the Vodacom Business Origins of Golf Final.

Harding fought hard on the back nine this afternoon after a shaky start which saw him rock back and forth between birdies and bogeys and eventually falling two shots behind at the turn.

Nevertheless, he maintained his composure, birdied the 14th and 16th holes, before sealing the deal with a tap in birdie on the 17th after bombing his drive just short of the green and pitching to within two feet of the hole. A straightforward par on the par-five final hole saw him close with a one-under par 71 for a final tally of seven-under par 209.

Ulrich van den Berg finished in second place alone on six-under par after mounting a serious charge on the back nine which included back-to-back birdies on the final two holes.

His fine 66 today equalled the low round of the week.

It has been an all-round successful week for young Harding, who after needing to pre-qualify then only finding out after completing his qualifying round that he was already exempt, then came out and led from the start to end, and in doing so helped his Pro-Am team to win the overall competition too. But it was today’s final result which he will forever remember.

“It was awesome,” he said. “I am thoroughly pleased. It was a fantastic week, nerve-wracking nonetheless, but I am overwhelmed. I’m thrilled.”

The experience was made even more special for Harding after his father and number one supporter, Stafford, arrived last night and walked the entire course with his son today.

And he in fact seemed more nervous than his son, even after the tournament was over.

“He was composed. I don’t think I was,” said Harding’s father referring to the closing stages of the round.

The win makes Harding the first rookie to win in his maiden year since Tyrone Ferreira’s victory in the 2008 Zambia Open, and it has catapulted him from eighth place all the way to third in the Rookie of the Year Race.

However, unlike the guys two ahead of him, he is now exempt for the next two years, and has also tasted victory, and with his ‘never say die’ attitude, he is now looking forward to the summer season with renewed vigour.

“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “It’s going to be lekker, but I am not going to put any added pressure on myself, and I’ll just take it one step at a time. But this is a bonus. This is awesome.”

(RSA unless specified):
209 - Justin Harding 68 70 71
210 - Ulrich van den Berg 74 70 66
211 - Alan Michell 71 70 70
212 - Darren Fichardt 72 66 74
214 - Grant Veenstra 71 74 69, Michiel Bothma 72 72 70, Oliver Bekker 74 69 71, Bradford Vaughan 71 71 72, Merrick Bremner 73 68 73
215 - Neil Cheetham (ENG) 73 73 69, Louis Calitz 77 69 69, Martin Maritz 71 71 73, Willie van der Merwe 71 71 73
216 - Charl Coetzee 74 70 72, Louis Moolman 76 67 73, Ryan Cairns (ZIM) 71 70 75
217 - Jaco Van Zyl 76 70 71, David Hewan 74 71 72, PH McIntyre 75 69 73
218 - Reggie Adams 75 74 69, Jean Hugo 80 69 69, Warren Abery 75 72 71, Doug McGuigan 78 68 72, Anthony Michael 75 71 72, Ryan Tipping 73 72 73, Derik Ferreira 72 72 74
219 - Daniel Greene 75 74 70, Josh Cunliffe 72 75 72, Irvin Mazibuko 75 71 73, Tyrone Mordt 74 71 74
220 - Dean Burmester 77 72 71, Chris Swanepoel 75 72 73, Michael Scholz 78 68 74
221 - Keenan Davidse 74 72 75
222 - Andre Cruse 77 71 74, Des Terblanche 76 71 75
224 - Dion Fourie 79 70 75, Jaco Ahlers 75 72 77
225 - Matthew Carvell 77 70 78
226 - Divan van den Heever 76 72 78
227 - Ryan Thompson 77 71 79
230 - Shaun Norris 74 74 82

Read more on:    sunshine tour  |  justin harding


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