• In-form Harding does it again

    Justin Harding
    Money in the bank

    Justin Harding of South Africa cruised to a six-shot victory at the Royal Cup to become the first player since 2011 to win back-to-back titles on the Asian Tour on Sunday.

    The in-form Harding fired a three-under-par 67 in the final round of the US$500,000 Asian Tour event. With a winning total of 14-under-par 266, Harding became the first player to win twice in his first two starts in Asia.

    The 32-year-old won the BANK BRI Indonesia Open two weeks ago and took home the winner’s purse of $90,000 while earning his fourth title in a span of two months at the Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club.

    Defending champion Shiv Kapur of India battled to a 71 to share second place with Australia’s Jake McLeod (67), Kurt Kitayama (67) of the United States and Chapchai Nirat, who finished as the highest-ranked local player following a 68.

    ‘It’s been a good little run, I can’t really put into words right now, ‘ said Harding.

    ‘Two weeks ago it was a surprise, but obviously been playing nicely. I just tried to get three good rounds starting the week and put myself in position and then get the job done. I played pretty solidly yesterday. It was a strange round of golf. I made a couple more putts today, which helped.

    ‘I had my eyes on the leaderboard the whole time and saw the guys catching up. I feel like I have a little bit more control that way. I felt pretty good with my game the entire week and I wasn’t making too many mistakes. On the 13th I hit a poor shot that made it a bit interesting but I held my composure and made a great birdie on 15th, which was a tough hole.

    ‘I haven’t had a five-shot lead on the last hole before and I may have been a little too casual on my last tee shot but that’s why I got my nickname.

    ‘I’m enjoying this run right now. The courses out here in Asia allow me to play strategically and I’m benefiting so I don’t find that I am trying too hard and just letting it come to me.’

    Credit: Asian Tour

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