Claiming the Joburg Open held in Johannesburg, South Africa, Shubhankar Sharma displayed a brilliant, nerveless performance to take home his maiden European Tour title.
Sharma entered the final round at Randpark Golf Club with a five-shot lead but had seen that cut to four when play was halted due to storms with his ball on the eighth green.
The 21 year old showed no ill effects from the overnight delay, birdieing the ninth and then parring his way home for a 69 that moved him to 23 under and gave him a three-shot victory over South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen, who carded a 66.
“It feels absolutely wonderful to have won this week,” he said. “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.
A place at the Open Championship was on offer for the top three players in the field not already exempt and South African Shaun Norris joined Sharma and Van Rooyen in booking his place at Carnoustie Golf Links as he finished at 17 under alongside Finn Tapio Pulkkanen.
“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.
“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.”