Shubhankar Sharma, after course record at Indian Open golf, should aim higher
Shubhankar Sharma, the 21-year-old Indian golf sensation, bettered the course record to jump 53 places to second in the Hero Indian Open, lying second and four shots off Argentine leader Emiliano Grilloother sports Updated: Mar 09, 2018 23:32 IST
If it was Emiliano Grillo who sizzled on the first day, it was the in-form Shubhankar Sharma’s turn on Friday at the Hero Indian Open. Grillo equalled the course record on Thursday and Shubhankar bettered it a day later. And we all thought 64 and 65 were next to impossible on this course.
These two guys have shown that if the conditions are good, as they were without any wind on the first two days, low scores were there to be had. But for that you needed to grab your chances.
Shubhankar has been awesome over his last 27 holes. I saw his scores – he was five-over for his first nine holes this week and they came on the back nine of the course. Over the next 27 holes, he has been 12-under and now has a total of seven-under.
TOP 50 BECKONS
Shubhankar now has a great chance to make the Top 50 of the world rankings, and with some joint-sanctioned events coming up for him before the Augusta Masters and then the Masters itself, plus the possibility of the no-cut WGC Matchplay, the doors are all open to make a big splash.
Shubhankar’s 64 has also given him a chance to catch up with the Argentine Grillo over the last two rounds. Half the tournament is done, and Shubhankar knows a thing or two about closing.
The action on the first two days showed that good and really low scores are possible if you are willing to be patient. Grillo did that on Thursday and Friday and Shubhankar did that on Friday. There are as many as 30 players in red numbers and 35 are par or better.
KHALIN MAKES MARK
While a lot of focus has been on Shubhankar, I was also very happy to see Khalin Joshi make a good move with a 68 that put him in the Top 10.
India’s young guns putting on a decent show included amateur Kshitij Naveed Kaul, Ajeetesh Sandhu, Udayan Mane and teenager Karandeep Kochar as they all made the cut.
Anirban Lahiri grinded it out and made the cut comfortably to give himself a chance to strike back over the weekend.
Amidst the young stars, there was veteran Jyoti Randhawa, who ensured the senior generation was still represented.
From an Indian point of view, it meant the local fans will have a lot to look forward to over the weekend.
Personally, it was a missed cut by one. After the birdie on 18th, which my playing partner called as the ‘best up-and-down’ after being in bunker, I thought I was in. But suddenly there was a birdie elsewhere from someone else and I was again out. I can keep thinking of the 2-footer I missed on fourth, or the six-footer on seventh, or double on 13 and bogey on 14. Any one of them one shot better could have turned things for me. But it was not to be.
(The writer is a four-time winner on Asian Tour)