Sunday, 10 December 2017
Shubankar Sharma  (Getty Images)
Shubankar Sharma (Getty Images)

Shubhankar Sharma tightened his grip on the Joburg Open as he extended his lead to six shots early in the final round at Randpark Golf Club.

The Indian - playing just his tenth European Tour event - entered the day with a five-shot lead but a birdie on the second moved him to 21 under as he stayed in total control on the Firethorn Course.

Sharma has five wins on the Professional Golf Tour of India but this would be his European Tour breakthrough after achieving an impressive top ten at the UBS Hong Kong Open two weeks ago.

As well as playing for the trophy this week, the top three finishers will earn a place at next year's Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Links, so there was plenty on the line for a congested chasing pack.

Swede Cristofer Blomstrand and South African Erik van Rooyen were at 15 under, a shot clear of Finn Tapio Pulkkanen and England's James Morrison.

Another Englishman in Marcus Armitage was then at 13 under, one ahead of Dane Joachim B Hansen, who had a single birdie on the third in his first five holes.

Every member of the final two groups parred the first, with the gettable par five second presenting the first good chance for anyone to close the gap on Sharma.

None of Armitage, Pulkkanen and Van Rooyen could take advantage and when the final group arrived, it was Sharma who made a birdie to extend his lead to six shots.

Van Rooyen moved into a share of second with a smart approach to six feet on the third, with Pulkkanen also making a birdie to get to 14 under.

Armitage, Blomstrand and Morrison were all level par for the day through three holes.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1SHARMA, ShubhankarIND18-23
T3NORRIS, ShaunRSA18-17
5ARMITAGE, MarcusENG18-15
T6HANSEN, Joachim B.DEN18-13

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