Three birdies in his last four holes took South Africa’s Justin Harding to a maiden European Tour victory in the Qatar Masters at the Doha Golf Club.

Justin Harding wins Qatar Masters

Justin Harding of South Africa fired a superb closing round of 66 to win the Qatar Masters at Doha Golf Club by two shots from a group of nine players.

The South African arrived at Doha Golf Club without full playing rights on the European Tour but he now has a secure immediate future on the circuit.

Harding made three early birdies at Doha GC to take a share of the lead, but he looked to have lost his chance when he made two bogeys and South Korea’s Jinho Choi signed for an excellent 64 to set the clubhouse target at 11-under.

Birdies on the 10th and 12th put Harding back in contention and further birdies on the 15th, 17th and 18th gave him a two-shot lead at 13-under after he closed with 66.

Oliver Wilson was one of nine players tied for second

Oliver Wilson was one of nine players tied for second

Harding faced a nervous wait as the final groups finished, but nobody could catch him, with his countrymen Christiaan Bezuidenhout, George Coetzee and Erik van Rooyen, Spaniards Jorge Campillo and Nacho Elvira, Swede Anton Karlsson, Frenchman Mike Lorenzo-Vera, England’s Oliver Wilson and Choi finishing two back in a European Tour record nine-way tie for second.

Harding claimed his maiden European Tour win and is the fifth South African to win this event, after Darren Fichardt, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and Branden Grace.

“It was nerve wracking, especially coming off, it’s a situation I haven’t really been in. I didn’t enjoy it but it’s good fun, I’m glad it happened and now we move on,” he said. “I get into the events that I’d like to be into again, the schedules change, I’m no longer having to pick and choose. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens going forward and playing in some bigger events.”

Qatar Masters
Doha GC, Qatar
7-10 March
Purse: €1,450,000 Par: 72

1 Justin Harding (RSA) 68 68 73 66 275 €259,669
T2 Christian Bezuidenhout (RSA) 72 71 66 68 277 €69,988
T2 Jorge Campillo (Esp) 72 69 68 68 277 €69,988
T2 Jinho Choi (Kor) 72 69 72 64 277 €69,988
T2 George Coetzee (RSA) 68 68 73 68 277 €69,988
T2 Nacho Elvira (Esp) 71 67 69 70 277 €69,988
T2 Anton Karlsson (Swe) 72 66 70 69 277 €69,988
T2 Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 68 68 71 70 277 €69,988
T2 Erik Van Rooyen (RSA) 69 68 70 70 277 €69,988
T2 Oliver Wilson (Eng) 69 68 69 71 277 €69,988

Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage