A second win in as many starts on the Asian Tour is likely to see Justin Harding tee it up at the PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club, writes WADE PRETORIUS.
Harding started the year at No 712 in the world rankings.
The Stellenbosch pro, a regular feature at the top of the Sunshine Tour leaderboards, won twice on the tour before heading to the Asian Tour’s Bank BRI Indonesia Open on a sponsor’s invitation.
He won. And swiftly took up Asian Tour membership and won again, this time by six shots to become the first player to ever go back-to-back on their first two starts in Asia.
Harding’s form has catapulted him into the top 100 in the world after being named as 99th in the latest rankings. Money and tournament wins aside, the former Lamar University (Texas) golfer is now almost 100% guaranteed a place in the year’s final Major in Missouri, where Jordan Spieth goes in search of his career slam and Justin Thomas defends the title he won at Quail Hollow.
The 32-year-old is now South Africa’s fifth-highest ranked player behind Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace, Charl Schwartzel and Dylan Frittelli.
Brandon Stone, who won the Scottish Open a couple of weeks back, drops to sixth to accommodate Harding’s rise.
Top 10 South African rankings:
Louis Oosthuizen – 33
Branden Grace – 35
Charl Schwartzel – 49
Dylan Frittelli – 63
Justin Harding – 99
Brandon Stone – 107
Dean Burmester – 113
George Coetzee – 122
Erik van Rooyen – 125
Shaun Norris – 128