Justin Harding was unmatchable at the Indo Zambia Bank Zambia Open on Sunday and shot a final-round 68 to finish two shots clear of his nearest rival in the R1,2-million tournament.
“I was three-up playing 18, which was huge. It’s a good feeling, because my other wins were tight, so it was a bit different. I got to enjoy walking up 18 a little bit,” he said.
The 26-year-old began his Sunday round at Lusaka Golf Club one stroke clear of the field and stretched his lead throughout the day, reaching 12-under-par and coasting to his third Sunshine Tour win.
“I managed to keep it together,” he said. “At the beginning of the day I knew that if I could shoot a round under par I would have a chance. It was awesome walking up there (the 18th green) and seeing the crowds.
“I holed out well and kept it together, and at the end of the day come out ahead. I tried to just get the job done. I’ve been working on keeping cool, calm and collected.”
Throughout the week the Cape Town local looked comfortable in windy conditions – he broke par during all four days at Lusaka. On moving day he shot 69 to head into the last round at seven-under; one stroke clear of Divan van den Heever.
Harding’s Sunday 68 sealed the deal – he reached the 18th three strokes clear of the pack and calmly played his way to a first national open win.
“I’ve been hitting the ball pretty well for the past three days. If you just put it in play around this golf course then it is playable. I played the par-fives relatively well. The greens are good and I made my fair share of putts today, which hasn’t happened in a while,” he said.
His closest chaser, Van den Heever began the event with a disappointing 75, but salvaged his chances with a second-round 70. At the weekend he shot 68-69 to secure sole second and once again distinguish himself as a threat on the Tour.
Sunshine Tour veteran Des Terblanche shot the round of the day – 67 – to finish tied third at nine-under-par. The 16-time winner was very impressed by the tough conditions out there.
“The wind has been blowing for four days straight. It becomes difficult and players start making stupid mistakes because you make swing changes. It’s a great course and a great layout. It’s very tough, so it has a US Open type of feeling – there are some flags you can’t go for. I don’t think we get enough of that on our tour, so this week was very good,” he said.