Sunshine Tour

SA pair seal 2018 Open Championship spots

Eric van Rooyen (Gallo Images)
Eric van Rooyen (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - South African duo Eric van Rooyen and Shaun Norris have sealed their spots at next year's Open Championship after the completion of the rain-delayed Joburg Open.

India's Shubhankar Sharma won his maiden European Tour title when he carded a 3-under-par final round of 69 to finish three strokes clear of runner-up Van Rooyen at Randpark Golf Club.

Victory guaranteed Sharma, along with Van Rooyen and joint third-place finisher Norris, places at the 2018 Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Norris got the nod ahead of Tapio Pulkkanen despite finished tied with his Finnish opponent due to his higher world ranking.

Van Rooyen, who graduated onto the European Tour in November, will make his Open Championship debut in Scotland.

"I'm obviously extremely happy because I'm playing my first Open this coming year, so I'm really stoked, but I don't think anyone wants to finish second," said Van Rooyen.

Meanwhile, for 35-year-old Norris, who finished tied for 62nd at this year's Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, said competing in the Open is always a "dream".

"For a South African golfer, it's a dream to be playing in the Open Championship at Carnoustie next July. Last year I experienced the Open Championship with my family and I look forward to doing it again," said Norris.

"The Open Championship is steeped in history and tradition, you just have to look at the names on the Claret Jug to see what great golfers have won this championship.

"Carnoustie is a wonderful venue where Padraig Harrington won in 2008 and it will be a great test of golf come next July. I'm really looking forward to the challenge," he said.

Other South Africans who have already qualified for the 2018 Open are Ernie Els, Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace, Charl Schwartzel and Dylan Frittelli.

The 2018 Open will be played from July 19-22 at the Carnoustie Golf Links.

Image: Supplied

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