Justin Harding continued his good form since the start of 2018 to secure his sixth Sunshine Tour victory when he won the Investec Royal Swazi Open.
He put together a flawless final-round 63 to win by one point, after leader Lyle Rowe double-bogeyed the final hole of the tournament.
Harding had been ultra consistent in the run-up to the Royal Swazi Open, finishing third at the Eye of Africa PGA Championship and the Tour Championship, and second at the Mopani Redpath Open in Zambia.
It took a double-bogey by tournament leader Rowe on the last to let Harding through the door. ‘Bogey-free was key,’ said Harding after winning a tournament decided by a Modified Stableford scoring system in which five points were awarded for an eagle, two for a birdie, none for a par, minus one for a bogey and minus three for a double or worse.
‘I pride myself on thinking clearly out there. I’m a naturally aggressive player, as everyone knows. Keeping bogeys off the card is important because they just kill momentum and in my opinion, golf is all about momentum. If you can hold it for as long as possible, you can post the scores you need to. I seem to be doing a better job lately, and the win is proof of that.
‘I feel sorry for Lyle. Nobody wants to finish that way, especially when you’re leading,’ said Harding, ‘but, he’ll win again soon enough. I have been knocking on the door. I’ve been playing well, and I’ve been reasonably frustrated because I have been there or thereabouts. I let it slip a little at the Tour Championships a couple of months ago, but I’ve been putting myself in a position to win more regularly than I have been in the past.’
Harding jumped to the top of the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit with his win, after four tournaments in the 2018-19 season completed.
Harding, who is a self-confessed sports fan and enjoys playing computer games, turned pro in 2010, having attended Paul Roos Gymnasium. He has all the tools to succeed with his aggressive approach, and now with the consistency in his game, the results are arriving.
– This article first appeared in the June issue of Compleat Golfer, now on sale!