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Harding reflects on maiden win ahead of title defence

Harding reflects on maiden win ahead of title defence

Justin Harding hopes memories of his victory in Doha last year can fuel his challenge for more success at the 2020 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.

Justin Harding

The South African lifted his maiden European Tour title in dramatic fashion at last year's event after some last day heroics saw him hold off a big chasing pack.

He fired five birdies on the back nine - including at the 15th, 17th and 18th - to earn a two shot victory from a group of nine players who tied for second.

"It was a pretty good day," Harding reflected.

"I got off to a good start, lost my head a little bit on seven and eight, but looked at the leaderboard and nobody ever really seemed to be running away with it. There looked like a lot of guys that were there or thereabouts.

"I ended up birdieing 11 and 12, then again 15. When I parred 16 I thought that was a chance given away, but I hit a good shot and made a great putt on 17. And birdie on 18 was big because it meant guys had to make two coming in.

"It was a bad little 45 minute wait but nobody seemed to really post a score. I think there were nine guys tied for second so I was quite pleased to avoid a play-off!

"It was cool to have finally crossed the line and got a W. It is just a matter of trying to feed on the same sort of memories this week and see if we can defend it."

Harding won't have the defending champion's advantage of returning to the same course as this year the event will be played at Education City Golf Club.

But the 34 year old is relishing the chance to tackle a new course.

He said: "I played so many new ones last year it's actually quite nice. You've almost got no bad memories, you're playing afresh.

"It's a nice little challenge. It means everyone is pretty much in the same boat. It's not like you're playing against a bunch of guys that have a world of good memories and good things to bring out on their play.

"It's just one of those where you've got to go out and play with what you have on the day and deal with what happens.

"It's a good golf course, I've played nine holes and I think the wind's going to blow.

"It's going to make it challenging for scoring. You'll probably find it's not going to be 20 under par winning, it's going to anywhere inbetween 12 and 15.

"I'm looking forward to going out, seeing if we can execute plans, make some birdies and see what happens."