Shubhankar Sharma plays a tee shot. Photo: EPA/JEROME FAVRE

JOHANNESBURG - With a score of 23-under-par 264, India’s Shubhankar Sharma is the Joburg Open champion for 2018.

After having to return to the Randpark Golf Club on Monday morning after the suspension of play on Sunday because of bad weather, Sharma remained calm and collected as he birdied the par-four ninth and then came home with nine pars for a final round score of 69.

If left him three strokes clear of his nearest challenger, South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen, who finished at 20-under-par for the tournament after a final round 66 that included six birdies and no bogeys.

It was the first Monday finish in the history of the tournament and Sharma became only the fourth foreign winner after Ariel Canete, Anders Hansen and Andy Sullivan.

In an almost flawless display of golf around the Bushwillow and Firethorn layouts Sharma made just three bogeys all week, all three coming in his opening round last Thursday. His second round 61, around Bushwillow, included 10 birdies and no bogeys.

Tied for third were Finland’s Tapio Pulkkanen and South African Shaun Norris, who charged up the leaderboard in the final round. He shot a 65 to finish at 17-under-par, enough to ensure him a spot in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie, alongside Sharma and Van Rooyen.

IOL Sport

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