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Joburg Open 2017

Round 4 - Shubhankar Sharma seals maiden Tour win

December 12, 2017

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

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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 Sunday due to torrential rain, lightning and hail and resumed Monday at 0730 local time (0530 GMT).

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 the 21-year-old Indian 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 2.6 million rand ($190,000/160,000 euro) first prize.

Victory also guaranteed Sharma, along with Van Rooyen and joint third Shaun Norris of South Africa, places at the 2018 British Open in 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."

The previous best European Tour finish for the golfer ranked 462 in the world 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 after receiving the trophy from Johannesburg mayor and 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.

"It has been absolutely fantastic and the people were very welcoming. I do not think I will ever forget this week.

"This is my first win on the Asian Tour and the European Tour so it means a lot to me," said Sharma.

"On the first day there were 240 players. I was just trying to play two good rounds to make the cut, which was really low.

"I was playing well and had a great start on the second day which got things going for me. As soon as I reached 13 under after two days, I thought I had a chance to win.

"The only thing I was telling myself was to stay aggressive. I never wanted to be defensive.

"Even when I was in front I never thought of defending my lead. I actually set a target of 25 under."

Van Rooyen quickly became the only 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.

Round 4 - Weather forces Monday finish

December 11, 2017

India's Shubhankar Sharma had a four-stroke lead in the Joburg Open with 11 holes left Sunday when lightning and heavy rain forced the suspension of play.

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Making his 10th European Tour start, Sharma was 22 under at Randpark. He had a 61 on Friday on the Bushwillow Course and shot a 66 on Saturday on the Firethorn Course to take a five-stroke lead into the final round. On Sunday, Sharma birdied two of the first seven holes at Fitethorn before play was stopped for the day.

''I had to cancel my flight tickets today but that was an easy thing to do considering the position I'm in,'' Sharma said.

South Africa's Erik van Rooyen was second. Play was suspended with Sharma on the eighth green, and Van Rooyen looking at a tap-in birdie on the ninth after birdieing four of the first eight.

Forty-two players were unable to complete the round.

''I'm going to treat it like another day,'' Sharma said. ''I'm going to do the same things which I've been doing the last four days. It is not frustrating, but you get into a groove when you start and you don't want to come off. I saw the clouds coming on the seventh hole and I was praying we could finish, but we can't help it. I'm playing well so I want to continue doing that.''

The top three players who are not already exempt will earn spots in the British Open.


Round 3 - Shubhankar Sharma vaults five clear

December 10, 2017

India's Shubhankar Sharma shot a 7-under 65 on Saturday to open a five-stroke lead in the Joburg Open.

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Making his 10th career European Tour start, Sharma was at 20-under 195 at Randpark. He had a 61 on Friday on the Bushwillow Course and added a bogey-free round Saturday on the Firethorn Course - also the site of the final round.

''I'm really happy,'' Sharma said. ''I wanted to play even though I shot a 10 under yesterday and it is always difficult to follow up on a low round. I'm really proud of the way I played today.

''I'm very pleased that I came to the Joburg Open. I had my visa but it has been a very long season so I was contemplating if I wanted to come here. I'm really happy that I did.''

Sweden's Christofer Blomstrand was second after a 62. England's James Morrison (67) and South Africa's Erik van Rooyen (70) were another stroke back at 14 under.

The top three players who are not already exempt will earn spots in the British Open.

Round 2 - Tapio Pulkkanen takes lead with a 64

December 9, 2017

Finland's Tapio Pulkkanen shot an 8-under 64 on Friday on the Firethorn Course to take a one-stroke lead in the European Tour's Joburg Open.

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Pulkkanen had a 14-under 129 total, playing the first 36 holes at Randpark without a bogey. He earned his tour card in last season's Road to Oman.

''I'm really happy with my game,'' the 27-year-old Pulkkanen said. ''I've been driving the ball really well, especially today, it's a fantastic feeling.''

India's Shubhankar Sharma was second after a 61 on the Bushwillow Course.

Finland's Mikko Korhonen and local favorite Erik van Rooyen were 12 under. Korhonen had a 65 on the Firethorn layout, and van Rooyen shot a 67 at Bushwillow.

The top three players who are not already exempt will earn spots in the British Open.

Nineteen players were unable to complete the second round because of a storm.

Round 1 - Keenan Davidse leads with opening 63

December 8, 2017

Keenan Davidse showed he was over the illness that confined him to a hospital bed for four days by shooting an 8-under 63 Thursday to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Joburg Open.

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The 28-year-old South African missed the cut in Mauritius last week as a flu virus ran through his family, and he checked himself into the hospital ahead of the Johannesburg event.

He said he ''didn't really have any expectations'' for the week but rolled in nine birdies on the Bushwillows Course at Randpark Golf Club, five of them coming in his final eight holes.

Among the six players tied for second place were Jared Harvey, Ockie Strydom and Erik van Rooyen - all South Africans.

A field of 240 players is split over the Bushwillows and Firethorn courses for the first two days. Those who make the cut play the longer Firethorn over the weekend.


264 Shubhankar Sharma (Ind) 69 61 65 69

267 Erik Van Rooyen (Rsa) 64 67 70 66

270 Tapio Pulkkanen (Fin) 65 64 73 68, Shaun Norris (Rsa) 69 68 68 65

272 Marcus Armitage 69 66 67 70

274 Joachim B. Hansen (Den) 66 67 71 70, James Morrison 64 70 67 73

275 Christofer Blomstrand (Swe) 70 68 62 75, Charlie Ford 70 64 71 70, Daniel Greene (Rsa) 70 68 67 70, Jin-ho Choi (Kor) 69 66 70 70, Paul Peterson (USA) 70 67 69 69

276 Oliver Bekker (Rsa) 66 70 68 72, Hennie Otto (Rsa) 70 68 67 71, Hennie Du Plessis (Rsa) 71 67 68 70, Victor Perez (Fra) 73 66 69 68, Mikko Korhonen (Fin) 66 65 75 70, Ross McGowan 66 72 66 72

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

278 JC Ritchie (Rsa) 71 67 69 71, Jeff Winther (Den) 70 66 75 67, Jake Higginbottom (Aus) 70 69 70 69

279 Matt Wallace 73 65 67 74, Jens Fahrbring (Swe) 72 67 71 69, Daniel Brooks 66 67 77 69, Nathan Kimsey 65 71 70 73, Richard McEvoy 66 69 72 72, George Coetzee (Rsa) 68 67 72 72, Ockie Strydom (Rsa) 64 73 74 68, Eirik Tage Johansen (Nor) 73 66 72 68, MJ Viljoen (Rsa) 68 67 74 70, Marco Iten (Chi) 71 67 73 68, Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa) 69 69 66 75, Scott Vincent (Zim) 71 68 71 69

280 Oscar Serna (Mex) 72 67 70 71, Tyrone Ryan (Rsa) 67 72 69 72, Andrea Pavan (Ita) 66 73 71 70, Adrian Meronk (Pol) 65 72 74 69, Robert Macintyre 72 67 71 70, Stuart Manley 68 69 72 71, Dylan Frittelli (Rsa) 70 69 71 70

281 Kristian Krogh Johannessen (Nor) 70 65 70 76, Haydn Porteous (Rsa) 69 70 66 76, Pep Angles (Spa) 69 70 70 72, Jaco Prinsloo (Rsa) 67 69 74 71, Chris Cannon 67 70 70 74, Jens Dantorp (Swe) 72 67 68 74, Oliver Farr 69 67 73 72, Jacques Kruyswijk (Rsa) 70 69 73 69

282 Adrien Saddier (Fra) 69 65 73 75, Sebastian Heisele (Ger) 64 71 74 73, JJ Senekal (Rsa) 71 68 70 73, Jean Hugo (Rsa) 68 68 71 75

283 Tirawat Kaewsiribandit (Tha) 73 65 75 70, Rourke Van Der Spuy (Rsa) 70 69 70 74

284 Adri Arnaus (Spa) 69 70 72 73, Tjaart Van Der Walt (Rsa) 73 63 76 72, Terry Pilkadaris (Aus) 68 70 75 71, Lionel Weber (Fra) 68 71 71 74

285 Keenan Davidse (Rsa) 63 74 73 75, Andrew Curlewis (Rsa) 73 66 73 73

286 Oliver Lindell (Fin) 66 72 73 75, Stephen Ferreira (Por) 67 71 73 75, Sam Chien (USA) 71 68 74 73

287 Andre Nel (Rsa) 71 67 75 74, Garrick Porteous 68 70 71 78, Carlos Pigem (Spa) 67 71 72 77

288 Cody Martin (USA) 71 68 74 75


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