Sunshine Tour

SA's Harding breaks into world top 100

2018-07-30 15:38
Justin Harding
Justin Harding (Asian Tour)

Sentosa - South Africa's Justin Harding broke into the world's top 100 for the first time in his career after claiming his second win in three weeks on the Asian Tour at the Royal Cup on Sunday.

SEE: Rankings: Top 20 - SA

The red-hot Harding climbed 28 spots to a career-best 99th place on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) following his commanding six-shot victory, which marked the largest winning margin on the Asian Tour this season.

He had started the season in 712nd place on the OWGR.

Harding, who won the Indonesia Open where he played on a sponsor's invite three weeks ago, wrote his name into the Tour's record books by becoming the first player to win back-to-back titles on the region's premier Tour since 2011.

The 32-year-old South African is also the first player on Tour to win twice in his first two starts in Asia.

Playing in his first professional tournament in Thailand, Harding stamped his authority early at the Royal Cup with a pair of six-under-par 64s that gave him a three-shot lead heading into the weekend.

He made his first bogey of the week on the 54th hole for a third-round 71, but bounced back with a brilliant 67 to seal his victory with a winning total of 14-under-par 266.

"It was a surprise two weeks ago, but I have been playing nicely recently," said Harding, who took home a winner's prize purse of $90 000 (R1.1 million) and received a total of 14 OWGR points following his Thai victory.

"I'm enjoying this run right now. The courses out here in Asia allow me to play strategically and I'm benefitting from it. I don't find that I am trying too hard and I’m just letting it come to me."

Prior to his breakthrough in Indonesia, Harding has also enjoyed successful exploits on the Sunshine Tour, where he leads the Order of Merit following a hot streak of two wins and three top-10s in his last five starts.

With a second Asian Tour victory in the bag, Harding moved from 32nd to 13th place on the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings, led by India’s rising star Shubhankar Sharma.

This week, the Asian Tour heads to the holiday isle of Fiji for the Fiji International.

Top 20 in the latest Asian Tour Order of Merit (under position, player, country, money earned):

1. Shubhankar SHARMA (IND) $603 155

2. Matt WALLACE (ENG) $446 660

3. Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) $372 480

4. Sanghyun PARK (KOR) $295 660

5. Rahil GANGJEE (IND) $290 425

6. Sihwan KIM (USA) $279 623

7. Minchel CHOI (KOR) $271 340

8. Paul PETERSON (USA) $241 148

9. Scott VINCENT (ZIM) $231 289

10. Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) $203 466

11. Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) $199 324

12. John CATLIN (USA) $195 547

13. Justin HARDING (RSA) $180 000

14. Berry HENSON (USA) $159 358

15. Daniel NISBET (AUS) $151 883

16. Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA) $140 649

17. Prom MEESAWAT (THA) $140 214

18. Khalin JOSHI (IND) $133 933

19. Shaun NORRIS (RSA) $130 943

20. Hideto TANIHARA (JPN) $123 306

Read more on:    justin harding  |  golf


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