Indian Open: Despite not winning, Shubhankar Sharma has golf world at his feet

Despite slipping up in the final round of the Indian Open golf tournament, Shiv Kapur feels Shubhankar Sharma has the game and temperament to go a long way.

other sports Updated: Mar 11, 2018 23:29 IST
Shubhankar Sharma,Shiv Kapur,Golf
It was heartbreak for Shubhankar Sharma on the final day as he struggled to a three-over 75 to finish tied seventh even as Englishman Matt Wallace bagged his second European Tour title at the USD 1,750,000 Hero Indian Open on Sunday. (AFP)

Shubhankar Sharma is going through a great run. Winning two European Tour events was no mean achievement. And then to follow it up with a 54-hole lead at a WGC event was fabulous and he finished in the top 10. And then flying across the world, he added another top 10 at the Hero Indian Open.

No golfer can be expected to win all the time. People’s expectations were too high, maybe because he was leading by two in Mexico and because he was in shared lead at the DLF Golf and Country Club. But to manage top 10s and stay on in mid-60s of world rankings is no mean achievement at the age of 21.

(Read | Matt Wallace claims playoff for Indian Open golf title, Shubhankar Sharma tied 7th)

He has the world at his feet. He will be there at the WGC Match Play and then the Masters and he has some other invitations to PGA Tour events. All this could add up to a possible passage to the PGA and that would be incredible for him and Indian golf.

Triple double hurt

On the final day, starting with a share of the lead, he moved in the right direction with two early birdies, but then dropped three double bogeys. That was tough to make up, especially when players like Matt Wallace, who played amazingly well on the last day, and Andrew Johnston, who was bogey-free on the final day. Wallace and Johnston played the way Emiliano Grillo did on first two days and then Shubhankar played on the second day.

Wallace’s play on the third day for his 70 was the key because conditions were tough and he handled them well. That momentum carried him to the top and his four birdies on the front nine did the trick. The 16th was the only time he went a little to the left and it cost him a bogey. Johnston birdied at the right time and forced a playoff.

(Read | Indian Open golf: Shubhankar Sharma will go a long way, says Matt Wallace)

Wallace and Johnston finishing at 11-under was tremendous at the challenging DLF Golf and Country Club.

Wallace’s attack

Once again Wallace showed heart in the playoff and went for the green on 18th. Unlike regulation play, this time he birdied it and edged out Johnston, who despite losing it can take heart from a good finish.

All in all, a good finish for the spectators and I am sure we are looking forward to the 2019 edition of the Hero Indian Open.

(The writer is a four-time Asian Tour winner.)

First Published: Mar 11, 2018 23:11 IST