Pros advice

Sharma completes fairy-tale week in South Africa

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Shubhankar Sharma showed no signs of nerves in notching up his first European Tour win plus the best of the action.

Shubhankar Sharma put the finishing touches to his incredible week as he took victory in the weather-delayed Joburg Open by three shots from South African Erik Van Rooyen.

The Indian resumed with a four-shot lead and promptly birdied the 9th and then parred in. He ended the week with just three bogeys which all came on the first day.

Sharma had played mainly on the Asian Tour, he was sixth on their Order of Merit this year, and he has five victories on his home tour in India and he now has a European Tour success to his name. He was 10th in Hong Kong two weeks ago.

Van Rooyen resumed with a tap-in birdie at the 9th to cut the lead to three but he could only add more as he closed with a 66. Shaun Norris tied for third with Tapio Pulkkanen with England’s Marcus Armitage, who recently missed out at Q School, in fifth.


Talking Points

A nice early Christmas present for Sharma, Van Rooven and Norris was a place in next year’s Open at Carnoustie. There were three spots up for grabs and only Dylan Frittelli was exempt in the 240-man field.

Norris pipped Pulkkanen thanks to picking up four birdies in the last seven holes which included 17 and 18. The Finn birdied 14, 15 and 16 but needed one more which he couldn’t find.

Norris got the nod courtesy of his higher world ranking.

Louis Oosthuizen added his name to the list of odd golfing injuries when he jammed the fingers of his left hand between two airport luggage trolleys. The South African, who had been coming back into some nice form, is hopeful that the injury won’t be too damaging but it was bad enough to make him withdraw.

“I tried to grip a golf club but there’s no way I can go to my grip position. It’s a bit of an unfortunate one, but I don’t want to tee off Thursday and play one hole or a few shots and then withdraw after taking someone’s spot. I just can’t do that.”


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