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Birthday boy Sharma finishes tied 52nd to leave The Open with good memories

Joy Chakravarty



India's Shubhankar Sharma carded a closing round three-under 68 to finish tied 52nd at The Open Championship in Northern Ireland. Photo: Asian Tour

Portrush: Serenaded by thousands of fans, Shubhankar Sharma celebrated his 23rd birthday in style by shooting the lowest round of his Major career on the final day of the 148th Open Championship on Sunday.

Sharma ensured he’d leave Portrush with happy memories, highlighted by a superb 45-feet birdie putt on the final hole. That gave him a round of three-under 68, one better than the 69 he shot in the opening round of the PGA Championship last year at Bellerive Country Club.

At Royal Portrush, the Indian star teed off early at 07:42am, by which time the first stand was full of fans who welcomed him by singing ‘Happy Birthday’ loudly.

The first hole turned into a bit of a disaster, as he had to chip out with a left-handed shot from the rough before making a bogey. But birdies on the next two holes steadied the ship and he made four more from there on to offset bogeys on the 14th and the difficult 232-yard, par-3 16th, which is aptly called ‘Calamity’.

“I played pretty good today and that finish on the 18th was special,” said Sharma.

“To be honest, I felt like I had a great tournament, except for that back nine on Saturday. It was good to sort of make a comeback today.

“I’m not used to doing much on my birthdays, but the last two birthdays have been very special. Last year I was in The Open as well. I was in a restaurant and everyone got up and sang ‘Happy Birthday’ for me. Now to see the grandstand singing… it’s very, very special. It really was a perfect day.”

Sharma endured a treacherous stretch of six holes on the back nine in Saturday’s third round that included three doubles, two bogeys and a birdie. Even if he had played those six holes to par, he would have comfortably finished inside the top-20.

“At the start of the day, I was just trying to erase the memories from yesterday. After the round, I went to the range and there was nothing wrong with my game. I was hitting the ball flush. It was just my mind, which had gone off in the back nine. I just couldn’t see a starting line off the tee,” he added.

“You can’t afford to do that, especially on a back nine like Portrush. It’s not easy. It’s very penal. I knew there was nothing wrong. It was just a mental thing.

“So I came this morning with a fresh mind. I was just happy, got a lot of messages from friends and family. I just wanted to go out and enjoy. There was no expectation, to be honest. I was happy going out early because the weather is expected to worsen. I just wanted to post a decent score, and I think I did that.”

Sharma expressed confidence that he will keep getting better as he gathers more and more experience playing on the big stage.

“To be honest, you just have to believe that you can do it. Golf is a very different sport compared to other sports. And Major championship golf is very different from normal golf,” said Sharma.

“Yesterday, I didn’t really hit too many bad shots, but you’re dead when you do. I think it’s just about belief. I played The Open twice now and I definitely feel like I have the game. It’s just about going and playing four good rounds.

“In the future, I’ll definitely do better and I’m sure I’ll play many more of these tournaments.”

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Bogey-free 67 lifts Shubhankar to tied 9th at BMW PGA Championship



Shubhankar Sharma golf
Shubhanka Sharma.

Wentworth (United Kingdom): Indian golfer Shubhankar Sharma fired a bogey-free five-under 67 in the second round to be placed tied ninth with a total of six-under at the BMW PGA Championship.

Shubhankar wore a big smile as he walked off the Wentworth Golf Club.

Still smarting under the triple bogey he suffered on the first day and ended with 71, Shubhankar is now six-under and was happy with his play as he was bogey free.

Shubhankar was in the top-10 at tied ninth though there were many players yet to finish.

The other Indian in action, SSP Chawrasia (72-78) however missed the cut.

Jon Rahm (66-67) and Danny Willett (68-65) were the co-leaders at 11-under, while Christiaan Bezuidenhout (68-67) and Justin Rose (67-68) were nine-under and were tied third.

Speaking of his game, Shubhankar said: “Pretty happy with no bogey and I started well with a good 7-Iron to five feet. Then followed a few good pars and four more birdies.

“The key was good putting, actually pretty much everything fell in the slot today. I was finding more fairways, iron play was better and overall I hit much better today than the first day.”

He picked the first and 14th as the two best birdies.

He also admitted conditions were easier in the morning as towards the end of his round, wind started to pick up.

“Six-under for two rounds after a triple on first day felt good and lunch will taste better,” said Shubhankar, who at the Pro-Am was presented with his ‘Rookie of the Year’ for 2018 Trophy by Keith Pelley, the Chief Executive of European Tour.

Following his opening 66 on Thursday, Henrik Stenson praised the greenkeepers, complimenting them on “a great job with the course”.

This year’s date change, with the event switching from May to September, has led to compliments from many, but the West Course has been receiving praise since it underwent a significant renovation in 2016.

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Shubhankar Sharma tied 42nd, Chawrasia tied 69th at BMW PGA Championship



Shubhankar Sharma

Wentworth (United Kingdom): Shubhankar Sharma was tied 42nd on account of a triple bogey with a score of one-under 71 while SSP Chawrasia shot an even par to be tied 69th after opening round of the BMW PGA Championship.

The talented Sharma survived a big blip on the back nine, when he triple bogeyed on the fourth hole which was Par-5.

Sharma was cruising with birdies on 12th, 13th and 18th holes respectively. He added a fourth birdie on second when disaster struck on Par-5 fourth. He also bogeyed the next hole to be suddenly even par. However he fought back with a birdie on Par-4 sixth and ended the day at 71.

“I am proud of the way I hung despite dropping the triple,” said Sharma, who did well for three days last week at the KLM Open before dropping to 40th on the final day.

Please read: Indian golfers Shubhankar, Chawrasia gear up for PGA Championship

Chawrasia had three each of birdies and bogeys.

Matt Wallace delighted the home crowds in the opening round as the 29-year-old carded a flawless seven under 65 to move into a one-shot lead.

On a sunny and hot day, Wallace, who won three of his four European Tour titles in 2018 was the star of the show.

He opened with a birdie three at the first before a stunning eagle-birdie-birdie run from the fourth hole saw him reach the turn in five under par.

The Londoner cruised home with a couple more birdies to move to the top, ahead of Spain’s Jon Rahm and Swede Henrik Stenson on six under par. Their 2018 Ryder Cup-winning team-mate Justin Rose was a shot behind after a five-under 67.

Justin Rose, Ernie Els, Paul Casey and Danny Willett were among the seven players at four-under 68.

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Indian golfers Shubhankar, Chawrasia gear up for PGA Championship



Shubhankar Sharma

Surrey: Top Indian golfers Shubhankar Sharma and SSP Chawrasia will face off against the best in business as they begin their campaign at the BMW PGA Championship at the Wentworth Golf Club here on Thursday.

One of the best fields of the year will be on display at the BMW PGA Championship, which will be the first counting tournament in the race to qualify for the 2020 European Ryder Cup Team.

Shubhankar, who featured amongst the top 20 for the most part before faltering on the last day for a T-40 finish at the KLM Open, will be India’s best bet.

Bhullar, who also featured along with Sharma in the tournament, will look to end in a better position after finishing at T-60 at the KLM’s sports news

Chawrasia, on the other hand, has been struggling with his form and he will need to bring his ‘A’ game to the floor after a T-75 and T-87 finish at the KLM Open and Porsche European Open respectively in the past two weeks.

The tournament will be headlined by FedEx Cup Champion Rory McILroy.

The other major names will include Justin Rose, Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Shane Lowry, defending champion Francesco Molinari, Tony Finau, Billy Horschel, Andrew Putman and Patrick Reed.

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