Justin Harding of South Africa hits out of a bunker for the second time on the tenth hole during the second round of the 2019 Masters. Photo: EPA/Tannen Maury

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s Justin Harding ended an impressive Masters debut with a share of 12th place at Augusta on Sunday.

While American Tiger Woods stole the headlines with victory on 13-under - his first Major win since 2008 and 15th overall - Harding was the star from a SA perspective. 

Harding shot a final round level par 72 after earlier rounds of 69 69 and 70 to finish on an eight-under total. The 12th place finish also booked Harding an invite to the 2020 Masters, completing an excellent week for the 33-year-old who also ended as the top South African in the field.

In fact, Harding holed a vital 15-footer at the last to ensure he grabbed the last automatic invite to next year’s event. 

The 49th-ranked player in the world had a rollercoaster front nine with three bogeys and two birdies, and began the homeward loop with a bogey on 10 for the third time in a row. He rallied with birdies at 12 and 13, but a costly bogey at the par five 15th meant he had fallen to 18th place. 

But the final birdie on 18 would prove pivotal for Harding, as he put an exclamation mark on a week to remember.

Louis Oosthuizen was the next best SA player on four-under in a tie for 29th, Trevor Immelman claimed a share of 51st on two-over while Branden Grace ended the week on five-over in 58th place. 

African News Agency (ANA)