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Golfer Shubhankar Sharma, Maybank Championship winner, says last two months life-changing

India golfer Shubhankar Sharma fired 10 birdies to stun crowds and secure a two-shot win at the US$3 million Maybank Championship in Malaysia on Sunday.

other sports Updated: Feb 04, 2018 18:08 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, Kuala Lumpur
Shubhankar Sharma,Golf,Maybank Championship
India’s Shubhankar Sharma poses with the trophy after winning the 2018 Maybank Malaysia Golf Championship. (AFP)

Rising India golfer Shubhankar Sharma has won two European Tour titles in the last couple of months and it was not a surprise that he called the phase “life-changing”.

Sharma had caught the eye of his senior Indian colleagues including Jeev Milkha Singh, Arjun Atwal and Jyoti Randhawa, while finishing ninth at the 2017 Maybank Championship. Twelve months later, he went the full distance to win the USD 3 million event.

(Read | Shubhankar Sharma claims Maybank Championship title in thriller)

Candid and thrilled with his second win in seven weeks on the European Tour, Sharma admitted, “The last two months have changed my life. I’ve been a member on the Asian Tour for a while and I will continue to be a member on the Asian Tour. I’ve always dreamt of winning and now I’m a two-time winner on the Asian Tour and European Tour.

“I’m over the moon. I’m playing in The Open championship this year so I can’t ask for anything more. Whatever happened today was fantastic. The win in Joburg helped a lot. Especially today, I was very calm on the course.”

Sharma felt he put up a solid show on the final day.

(Read | Golfer Rory McIlroy reveals heart ‘irregularity’)

“I played pretty solid and it wasn’t easy because it was windy. I kept pushing the whole day. I knew I had to make a lot of birdies to catch the leaders. I made a lot of birdies in the front nine and just continued on the back.

“To be honest, I wasn’t thinking about the leaderboard. I wanted to set a target in my mind and try to achieve it. On the 13th, I knew I was somewhere near the leaders but on 16 I knew I had a two-shot lead. I told myself if I can make two more birdies, that would give me a good chance to win.

“On the 16th hole I saw the leaderboard and I had a two- shot lead so I told myself I needed one more birdie and I made a very nice birdie on 17. On 18, my ball was in the greenside bunker and the easiest up-and-down to make. I was just telling myself ‘don’t mess this up, don’t duff it or top it’.”

(Read | Jon Rahm clinches CareerBuilder Challenge golf title after four playoff holes)

He birdied that too to finish at 21-under. Sharma surprised himself with a bogey-free performance.

“I didn’t make a bogey at all and it is very rare because you usually end up slipping after making birdies. I played really well, especially with the way I started. It is always tough to make birdies when you are trailing the leaders but I relaxed.”

Sharma, who is known to go deep and shoot really low scores, said, “I had a few 10-under-pars before. I shot my first one in the Philippines two years ago to save my Asian Tour card and I shot another one before winning the Joburg Open.”

On his chances of winning the Asian Tour’s Habitat for Humanity Standings and also Race to Dubai the youngster said, “This is just the early part of the season and I’m not thinking about it because there are so many events left. If I play well enough, I will have a good chance to win the Habitat for Humanity Standings.

“This win is great because it opens so many doors for me. I’m also playing in The Open so I’m excited about that.”

First Published: Feb 04, 2018 18:08 IST