Harding secures maiden European Tour title at Qatar Masters

A run of three birdies over his final four holes at the Qatar Masters helped Justin Harding secure a two-shot victory in Doha.

Published : Mar 10, 2019 21:20 IST

Justin Harding celebrates his first victory on the European Tour.
Justin Harding celebrates his first victory on the European Tour.

Justin Harding celebrates his first victory on the European Tour.

Justin Harding  produced an impressive finish to win the  Qatar Masters  and end his wait for a title on the European Tour.

The South African recorded birdies at three of the final four holes at Doha Golf Club to set the target at 13 under - then watched as the chasing pack tried to catch him.

However, none of those still out on the course could do better than 11 under, a score posted earlier on Sunday by Jinho Choi, as a record-breaking nine players finished tied for second.

Christiaan Bezuidenhout, George Coetzee  and  Erik van Rooyen  finished two shots back of compatriot Harding, as did Anton Karlsson of Sweden and Spanish duo Jorge Campillo and Nacho Elvira.

READ:  Gaganjeet Bhullar slips to tied-58th at Qatar Masters

They were joined by Frenchman Mike Lorenzo-Vera and England's Oliver Wilson, who had led the way after the third round but was unable to clinch his first European Tour title since the 2014 Alfred Dunhill Championship.

Harding had arrived in Qatar without full playing privileges but triumphed in a European Tour event at the 54th attempt.

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"It feels good," the 33-year-old told the European Tour's official website. "It was nerve-wracking, especially coming off [the course], it's a situation I haven't really been in.

"I didn't enjoy it but it's good fun, I'm glad it happened and now we move on."

His hopes appeared to be slipping away with back-to-back bogeys on the front nine, only for five birdies after the turn to fire him back into contention as he signed for a 66.

Choi had set the early clubhouse target with a stunning final-round 64, his blemish-free score including an impressive eagle at the par-four 16th despite just missing the green with his drive.

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