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Determined Shubhankar looks to impress in his second British Open appearance

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Reigning Asian Tour Order of Merit champion Shubhankar Sharma during the 2018 British Open at Carnoustie.

Sentosa, Singapore: Reigning Asian Tour Order of Merit champion Shubhankar Sharma of India will make his return to the world’s oldest Major when he takes his place among the world’s best players at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland next week.

Having qualified for The 148th Open or the British Open by virtue of his Order of Merit win on the Asian Tour last year, Sharma will be hoping to better his tied-51st finish from his Carnoustie debut in 2018, which was a breakthrough year for the 22-year-old.

He captured his second Asian Tour title at the Maybank Championship in Malaysia which proved pivotal to him winning the Order of Merit title last year and became the youngest Indian to play in all four Major Championships in 2018, following the footsteps of Jeev Milkha Singh in 2007 and Anirban Lahiri in 2015 and 2016.

More groundbreaking achievements soon followed as he was conferred the prestigious Arjuna Award back home and named as the European Tour Rookie of the Year.

“It was a huge learning curve for me last year. I’ve played in some of the biggest events I could ever imagine and learned a lot. Obviously, the Asian Tour played a big role as the Tour gave me the chance to compete and develop my game,” said Sharma.

Sharma may not have reached the heights of last year where he reached a career-high 64th place on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR).

Ranked 201 in the world with only a tied-second result on his domestic circuit as his best result so far this year, he remains optimistic and knows he still has the game to underline his credentials as Asia’s No. 1 player.

“I’m obviously a lot more mature this year and I just want to get back into the groove again of playing at my best again. I know I have the game to be among the best in the world and I just want to keep playing well and give my best shot,” said Sharma.

While Sharma will be making his second appearance at The Open, fellow Asian Tour Order of Merit winner, David Lipsky of the United States will be making his third.

The 2014 Merit winner finished tied-58th in 2015 and missed the cut in 2017.

Japan’s Yuta Ikeda, a two-time Asian Tour winner, will also be making his way to the Antrim coast after securing his 21st career win on Japan Golf Tour at the Mizuno Open, which was part of The Open Qualifying Series.

Ikeda, whose best finish of tied 38th in The Open came at Royal St George’s in 2011, will be playing the British Open for the eighth time, and his fifth in a row.

“I am very happy to have qualified for the British Open thanks to this victory. I was worried I might not be able to play in it this year so it is great to have the opportunity to play on the big stage again. I have played in The Open a number of times and I am happy to be going overseas to compete in the Championship again,” said the 33-year-old Japanese.

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Delhi Golf Club & Jindal Stainless Foundation team up to make golf accessible for all

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New Delhi: Delhi Golf Club (DGC) on Monday  announced its association with the Jindal Stainless Foundation (JSF) to facilitate mainstreaming and adoption of Golf. The JSF grant will be used for two-pronged support. The first initiative aims at providing golf training to caddies’ children, staff, and other sportspersons, who are striving to upskill themselves, to promote golf as an attractive and a remunerative sport. The other initiative will focus on upgradation and maintenance of green complexes at DGC.sports news headlines

Commenting on the development, Chairperson, JSF, Deepika Jindal said, “Golf is a growing sport in India; however, accessibility to this sport remains a challenge for aspiring golfers. There is tremendous interest for this game among youth. With this initiative, we want to enable talented and aspiring players. Such opportunities will help bring down the entry barrier to this sport, which currently is a detrimental factor for golf’s growth in the country.”

Collaboration and support from organisations like JSF will help materialise DGC’s plan for upgrading its infrastructure.

Sharing his view on this partnership, President, DGC, retired Maj R S Bedi said, “The new greens and the surrounding complexes will make DGC as one of the best golf courses in the country. The new model of the golf course will present more challenging playing conditions and will be a nurturing ground for budding golfers across all sections of the society. I am confident that DGC will now be able to bring up a new crop of talented future professionals.”

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Rory Hie triumphs at inaugural Classic Golf & Country Club Championship

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Rory Hie
Rory Hie celebrates after his victory.

Gurugram: Indonesia’s Rory Hie made it a start-to-finish effort at the inaugural $300,000 Classic Golf & Country Club International Championship 2019, winning his maiden professional title by a two shot margin from the field.

However there was much to cheer for the Indians as a bunch of young stars finished in prominent positions with four of them featuring in the Top-eight.

As Hie shot 68 to finish at 21-under, Rashid Khan, in the hunt till he mishit the 15th tee shot, carded 69 to reach 19-under and tie for second alongside Korean Byungjun Kim (67).

Rashid’s bogey on 15th, coupled with Hie’s birdie on the same hole ended the Indian’s chances as the Indonesian playing in India for the seventh year in a row, made no mistakes and parred the last three holes.

“It was always my dream to walk up the 18th green with a two-shot lead and that’s what happened,” said Hie who won his first pro title since joining the paid ranks in 2008. He was once ranked No. 6 amateur in the world.

India’s newly minted pro, Aadil Bedi (66) in only his seventh Asian Tour start, logged his career-high fourth place at 18-under.current sports news

Aman Raj (66) equaled his career-best and Abhijit Chadha (71) achieved a new personal best on Asian Tour. Both were Tied-fifth at 16-under.

There were further celebrations in store for India at this Jack Nicklaus-designed course with India putting on another six players inside top-20 for a total of 10 among the top-20.

Veer Ahlawat (66) and Karan Pratap Singh (67) were Tied-13th at 12-under and another four Kshitij Naveed Kaul (67), Karandeep Kochhar (68), Shivendra Singh Sisodia (68) and Viraj Madappa (69) were tied-17th at 11-under.

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Hie maintains slender lead at Classic Golf & Country Club Championship

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Rory Hie.
Rory Hie in action on Saturday.

Gurugram: A birdie on the final hole, though this time it was on the 18th, for the second day running helped the tenacious Indonesian Rory Hie stay ahead of the field at the $300,000 Classic Golf & Country Club International Championship 2019 on Saturday.

Though it was Hie who held the lead for the third straight day, the upper half of the leaderboard still continued to be crowded by Indians.

Rashid Khan, a two-time winner on the Asian Tour, handed in a 6-under par card of 66 on Saturday for a three-day aggregate of 200 (68-66-66). He was one shot behind Hie, whose 199 had rounds of 64, 68 and 67.

Completing the top five were Chandigarh golfers Abhijit Chadha, placed third on 15-under 201 (68-65-68) and Asian Tour rookie Aadil Bedi in fifth along with Thailand’s Kosuke Hamamoto on 12-under 204.

Between them in sole fourth place is Byungjun Kim of South Korea on 14-under 202.

It was the third straight day in the pole position for the 31-year-old Hie and it leaves him well-placed to push for a breakthrough win on the Asian Tour, though he will have to contend with the resurgent Rashid, who has a PGTI win here six years ago, though he missed the cut at another domestic event in February this year.

Hie said, “I just played golf, I didn’t think about my golf swing, everything was pretty positive, I was looking at where I wanted to place the ball. I always had a positive attitude towards every putt, it doesn’t matter if it’s a par putt or birdie putt. Right now I’m just really happy with the kind of golf I have been playing.”

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