Shubhankar Sharma has been India’s most successful golfer in the past one year.(HT Photo)
Shubhankar Sharma has been India’s most successful golfer in the past one year.(HT Photo)

Shubhankar Sharma, India’s premier golfer, ready for US Open challenge

Shubhankar Sharma, for the second successive Major, will be the lone Indian in the fray as the US Open gets underway on Thursday.
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Ashutosh Sharma
UPDATED ON JUN 12, 2018 11:46 PM IST

Shubhankar Sharma can do little wrong these days. After the Augusta Masters and a berth in the British Open confirmed, Shubhankar added yet another feather to his cap by qualifying for the US Open.

This caps the 21-year-old’s fine-run, which started with him winning in the Maybank Open in Malaysia, where a stunning final round saw him clinch the title. In a way, Shubhankar has managed to accelerate and move with such finesse that it has only cemented his position as the next talent to watch out for.

As the US Open starting June 14 to 17 draws close, Shubhankar seemed gung-ho about his chances relying on his mental toughness and fearless approach to the game.

“Per se there has been no major changes to my game. But, yes, I have moved on with my game. Equipment has become more precise and suitable to my game, thanks to my friend and tech adviser Gurbaaz Mann. Of course, the experience of playing in US and on the PGA Tour also helped,” Shubhankar said, on the eve of his second golf Major.

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A tied 9th finish in the World Golf Championship in Mexico, where he was in the lead pack for most of the duration of the tournament, was enough for the world to take notice and by any means the Augusta Nationals beckoned.

However, there was no fairytale ending, he missed the cut in Augusta, perhaps for once overcome by the occasion.

‘Bit wiser’

“Augusta was a huge experience. There was nothing wrong in my game there, too. It was just about getting used to the conditions. Keeping everything in mind, on to US Open, I am a bit wiser,” the golfer said.

His father Col ML Sharma added that his son being successful was never in doubt–he is groomed that way. “He always had this work ethic and gumption to back himself. Till now, he is that way. If something needs to be done or any change has to be made, he will do it,” said the colonel , who has been the travelling buddy for his son during his formative years in golf.

Shubhankar also carries the same approach to the course, never shying away from taking risk and getting the job done.

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“I do not believe in carrying any pressures. I have always believed in doing the correct thing at the correct time and then go and do the job.

“Results always take care of themselves. My parents have been a huge influence in developing that mind set. So, I am trying to carry on in the same vein,” Shubhankar said.

As a seven-year-old when Shubhankar first held the club, the golfer said that the dream was always to play the game at the highest level and the recent success tis sort of validation, of that belief and faith, for the family.

“I believed that this level can be achieved. Many will find it hard to imagine but my dreams were made seeing the likes of Tiger Woods, Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy and wanting to play with them,” said Shubhankar. “Though I always believed and backed myself, but winning does a lot of good to your confidence. So, when I won on the European tour, it was my self validation. Then, I knew that I was ready to take on the world at any stage.”

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