Shubhankar is youngest golfer to claim Joburg Open

The 21-year-old closed with a three-under 69 and was bogey-free in the final 54 holes as he ended his first tournament in South Africa with an impressive winning total of 23-under 264 at the Randpark Golf Club.

PTI
Johannesburg, Publish Date: Dec 12 2017 12:28AM | Updated Date: Dec 12 2017 12:28AM
Shubhankar is youngest golfer to claim Joburg OpenFile Photo

Shubhankar Sharma today became the youngest Indian golfer to claim a European Tour title by clinching the Joburg Open, which also earned him a ticket to the prestigious British Open next year.

The 21-year-old closed with a three-under 69 and was bogey-free in the final 54 holes as he ended his first tournament in South Africa with an impressive winning total of 23-under 264 at the Randpark Golf Club.

The win in only his 10th European Tour start made Shubhankar the youngest Indian to win on the European Tour; the first from the country to win in South Africa. He bettered the seasoned Anirban Lahiri, who was 27 when he won the co- sanctioned Maybank Malaysian Open in 2015.

This was also his maiden win on any international Tour outside India.

Sharma defeated home favourite Erik van Rooyen (66) by three shots to claim the trophy, which was sanctioned by the Asian Tour as well.

"It feels fantastic. I'm glad I made the decision to come here after thinking about not coming. It has been absolutely fantastic and the people are very welcoming. I don't 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," he said.

Two-time Asian Tour winner Shaun Norris (65) of South Africa and Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland settled for third place at the event sanctioned by the Asian Tour, European Tour and Sunshine Tour.

Sharma, on the ninth hole overnight, returned to strike a birdie before parring his way home for a 69 to become the first Asian and Indian golfer to win the 16.5 million rands (approximately USD 1.2 million) event.

The victory made more special for the talented Indian as he won in the country of his golfing idol Ernie Els, who he met as an 11-year-old boy at the Delhi Golf Club in 2007.

Shubankar's father Mohan Sharma has his roots in Rajouri district while his mother is from Doda in Jammu and Kashmir.