It took an extra day but it was worth the wait for India’s Shubhankar Sharma, who took his first European Tour title on Monday at the Joburg Open in South Africa.
Just 21, Sharma has now clinched a spot in the 2018 Open Championship, finishing Sunday’s round with a 69. It was just his 10th start on the European Tour. He previously had five wins on the Professional Golf tour of India and eight top 10 finishes on the Asian Tour.
“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.
“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 10th, 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.”
Sharma was one of only two players to shoot sub-70 in all four rounds, finishing with a 23-under 69-61-65-69 = 264. He picked up 182,275 Race to Dubai points in the process.
He finished 3 strokes ahead of South Africa’s Erik Van Rooyen, who also lodged a spot in next year’s Open Championship field. He hacked Sharma ‘s lead in half during the final round, finishing with a 66 and at 20-under for the day.