It will be a Monday finish at the Joburg Open
The conclusion of the Joburg Open and the wait to find out who will qualify for The 147th Open will continue on Monday after thunderstorms brought a premature end to Sunday’s final round.
With the leading group at the eighth hole, officials called the players in as black clouds rolled in around the course at 1pm local time. After four hours the storm eventually calmed but despite the organisers’ best efforts to resume play at Randpark, damage to the Firethorn course was deemed too severe to repair before darkness.
In contention to qualify:
Shubhankar Sharma -22
Erik van Rooyen -18
Tapio Pulkkanen -14
The leading three players who finish in the top ten and ties and who are not already exempt will earn places in the championship due to be played 15-22 July 2018. In the event of a tie for a qualifying place, the player with the higher ranking in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) takes the spot.
Top of the leaderboard
Shunhankar Sharma continued his fine form to maintain a four-shot lead at the top before play was suspended. The young Indian golfer, two-under-par after seven holes, recorded birdies at the 2nd and 6th holes and showed no signs of crumbling under the pressure.
The 21-year-old, whose third-place finish at the 2016 Bashundhara Bangladesh Open remains his best to date, is now only eleven holes away from claiming his first big win and achieving his “dream” of playing at The Open.
Despite the organisers' best efforts to ensure a Sunday finish, the weather had other plans as the fairways and greens of Randpark became submerged under water in the early afternoon of the final round. Rain poured, lightning struck, thunder boomed and hail fell from the sky for the best part of four hours meaning play will conclude on Monday.
One to watch
Eric van Rooyen showed his intent to catch Sharma recording four birdies through the first eight holes. The South African will resume his final round in second position – four shots off the lead – when play gets back underway on Monday.
The 27-year-old looks to be South Africa’s best chance of a home winner, but will have to pull off a scintillating final performance to catch the impressive Sharma.
Monday finish first
There is a first time for everything and the Joburg Open will provide The Open Qualifying Series with its first ever Monday finish. Around half the final day field managed to complete their round with the remaining players returning to Randpark tomorrow when play gets underway at 7.30am.
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