Sunshine Tour

Sharma wins rain-delayed Joburg Open

2017-12-11 12:11
Shubhankar Sharma (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Indian Shubhankar Sharma completed his maiden European Tour triumph on Monday in Johannesburg by winning the Joburg Open tournament he almost did not compete in. 

He carded a three-under-par last-round 69 to finish three strokes clear of South African Eric van Rooyen in an event that stretched to five days because of bad weather.

The final round was suspended on Sunday due to torrential rain, lightning and hail and resumed on Monday at 07:30 local time. 

Sharma birdied three holes on the outward trek, then parred all the inward-nine holes with immaculate approach shots and putting highlights of his game.

After three bogeys during his opening-round 69 last Thursday, Sharma played 55 holes without dropping a shot and his second-round 61 was the lowest score of the tournament.

Visa delays and tiredness after a long Asian Tour campaign left Sharma contemplating missing the tri-sanctioned European Tour, Asian Tour and South African Sunshine Tour event.

His late decision to visit South Africa for the first time paid rich dividends as he pocketed a R2.6 million first prize.

Victory also guaranteed Sharma, along with Van Rooyen and joint third Shaun Norris of South Africa, places at the 2018 Open Championship at Carnoustie next July.

"I am thrilled that I came to the Joburg Open," said Sharma after adding to five victories on the Indian circuit.

"It has been a very long Asian Tour season for me so I was considering whether I wanted to visit South Africa. I am really happy that I did."

His previous best European Tour finish was sharing ninth place at the Maybank Championship in Kuala Lumpur last February.

"Winning the Joburg Open on my first trip to South Africa is a wonderful feeling," Sharma said soon after receiving the trophy from Johannesburg mayor and keen golfer Herman Mashaba.

"I met my caddie for the first time last Monday and we worked so well together. Heeding his advice was a key factor in my success.

"Saving par on a number of holes thanks to up and downs played a significant role in keeping me at the top of the leaderboard."

Van Rooyen quickly became the biggest final-round threat to Sharma and five outward-nine birdies narrowed the gap to four shots by the turn. 

But he could add only one further birdie, leaving steady Sharma to succeed one week after compatriot Arjun Atwal finished runner-up in the Mauritius Open.   

Joburg Open final scores after weather-affected final round was completed on Monday at Randpark Golf Club in Johannesburg:

264 - Shubankar Sharma 69 61 65 69

267 - Erik van Rooyen 64 67 70 66

270 - Shaun Norris 69 68 68 65, Tapio Pulkkanen 65 64 73 68

272 - Marcus Armitage 69 66 67 70

274 - Joachim B. Hansen 66 67 71 70, James Morrison 64 70 67 73

275 - Paul Peterson 70 67 69 69, Charlie Ford 70 64 71 70, Jinho Choi 69 66 70 70, Daniel Greene 70 68 67 70, Christofer Blomstrand 70 68 62 75

276 - Victor Perez 73 66 69 68, Mikko Korhonen 66 65 75 70, Hennie du Plessis 71 67 68 70, Hennie Otto 70 68 67 71, Oliver Bekker 66 70 68 72, Ross McGowan 66 72 66 72

277 - Matthew Baldwin 64 74 71 68, Vaughn Groenewald 71 66 71 69, Dean Burmester 66 73 68 70, Jaco Ahlers 67 68 72 70, Mark Foster 71 68 68 70, Aaron Rai 69 67 71 70, Gavin Green 70 67 70 70, Steven Brown 68 65 71 73

278 - Jeff Winther 70 66 75 67, Jake Higginbottom 70 69 70 69, JC Ritchie 71 67 69 71

279 - Eirik Tage Johansen 73 66 72 68, Ockie Strydom 64 73 74 68, Marco Iten 71 67 73 68, Daniel Brooks 66 67 77 69, Jens Fahrbring 72 67 71 69, Scott Vincent 71 68 71 69, MJ Viljoen 68 67 74 70, George Coetzee 68 67 72 72, Richard Mcevoy 66 69 72 72, Nathan Kimsey 65 71 70 73, Matt Wallace 73 65 67 74, Christiaan Bezuidenhout 69 69 66 75

280 - Adrian Meronk 65 72 74 69, Robert Macintyre 72 67 71 70, Andrea Pavan 66 73 71 70, Dylan Frittelli 70 69 71 70, Oscar Serna 72 67 70 71, Stuart Manley 68 69 72 71, Tyrone Ryan 67 72 69 72

281 - Jacques Kruyswijk 70 69 73 69, Jaco Prinsloo 67 69 74 71, Oliver Farr 69 67 73 72, Pep Angles 69 70 70 72, Jens Dantorp 72 67 68 74, Chris Cannon 67 70 70 74, Haydn Porteous 69 70 66 76, Kristian Krogh Johannessen 70 65 70 76

282 - JJ Senekal 71 68 70 73, Sebastian Heisele 64 71 74 73, Adrien Saddier 69 65 73 75, Jean Hugo 68 68 71 75

283 - Tirawat Kaewsiribandit 73 65 75 70, Rourke van der Spuy 70 69 70 74

284 - Terry Pilkadaris 68 70 75 71, Tjaart van der Walt 73 63 76 72, Adri Arnaus 69 70 72 73, Lionel Weber 68 71 71 74

285 - Andrew Curlewis 73 66 73 73, Keenan Davidse 63 74 73 75

286 - Sam Chien 71 68 74 73, Stephen Ferreira 67 71 73 75, Oliver Lindell 66 72 73 75

287 - Andre Nel 71 67 75 74, Carlos Pigem 67 71 72 77, Garrick Porteous 68 70 71 78

288 - Cody Martin 71 68 74 75

2018 Open Championship qualifiers Erik van Rooyen, Shubankar Sharma and Shaun Norris (Supplied)

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