Jakarta, Indonesia: Playing on an invite, Justin Harding carded a closing one-under-par 71 to win his maiden Asian Tour title at the US$500,000 Bank BRI Indonesia Open.
The 32-year-old South African, current Sunshine Tour Order of Merit leader, had missed only three greens in regulation before the final round. But he dropped shots on holes seven and eight before bouncing back with two birdies and emerging victorious with an 18-under 270 total at the Pondok Indah Golf Course.
Zimbabwe’s Scott Vincent transferred the pressure to Harding early in the round after firing three consecutive birdies from the second. But he lost the advantage after dropping shots at the sixth, ninth and 10th. He eventually ended in second place, his fifth top-10 finish this year.
Harding said: “It was a hard day today. Perhaps it was a case of nerves, but I was playing for a Tour card and there was a lot of money on the line.
“I’m thrilled with the victory. I came here not knowing what to expect. I’ve been playing nicely the whole year. I like the golf course and it was set up quite nicely for me. You can’t get too aggressive on it. You have to manage distances and make some putts here and there.”
On accepting membership for the Asian Tour, Harding said: “I’m glad to have avoided Q-School! I’m looking forward to playing on Tour, but I’ll have to look at the schedule and shift some things around. I’m just happy to get an opportunity from the Asian Tour to play here and I’m glad it all worked out fine.”
Thailand’s Chapchai Nirat and American Kim Sih-wan shared third place after carding 68 and 69 respectively. Gaganjeet Bhullar of India was one shot behind the duo, in lone fifth place.
Johannes Veerman (66), who led the tournament after the opening round, ended with a flourish. He grabbed a share of sixth place, along with India’s Udayan Mane and Thai Natipong Srithong.