Shubhankar Sharma misses cut at Augusta Masters, to focus now on securing PGA Tour card
Shubhankar Sharma’s Masters debut ended at the halfway stage, but the disappointment of missing the cut only strengthened his resolve to come back and showcase his talent and skills on the grandest stage of world golf.
The 21-year-old from Chandigarh battled his heart out in Friday’s second round, but the swirling wind at Augusta National kept baffling him and he closed with a two-over par 74 round. A seven-over par total of 151 at the halfway stage was two shots less than what was required to make it to the weekend.
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Shubhankar drove the ball beautifully off the tee, finding 10 out of 14 fairways in treacherous conditions, but was left with tricky putts as fluctuating wind directions hampered his usually solid iron play. Despite several birdie opportunities, he could convert only one – on the 15th hole – and added three bogeys.
“It was really windy out there and that’s why you don’t see too many low scores. I thought I played pretty good, just missed a few putts. I kept on fighting until the very end and it just didn’t go my way, but I’m proud of how I played,” said Shubhankar.
“There were a few shots I hit out there today where the wind either died, or picked up, he added. “That makes for a big change here. On these greens, you have to pick up your spot and hit it exactly there.
“Given the pin positions, and they were all pretty tough today, there are times when a 10-feet putt is far more difficult than a 20-feet putt, especially if you are putting from up or down the hill,” he said.
“I guess this is the reason why Augusta National is such a tough course for someone like me playing here for the first time. But the great thing is that I have learned a lot this time and I am sure I am going to come back here many times. I am going to use all my learning when I play here the next time and it will definitely be a lot better.”
On both days, Shubhankar felt he struggled to get any early momentum, which turned out to be key in setting the tone for the day.
“In both the rounds, I had chances to make some early birdies on the first three holes. I thought doing that is important here because you have a very tough stretch of holes from the fourth to the seventh where you have every chance of dropping shots and you have got to accept it,” said the current Order of Merit leader on both European and Asian Tours.
“And then, this game is all about making birdies. I made a lot of good putts, shaved several holes, but that is never going to be enough at this level. You’ve got to make those putts drop, and that was something I could not do.”
Shubhankar is next scheduled to play the Valero Texas Open on the PGA Tour after a week’s gap and is attempting to secure his full card on the Tour through the limited number of invites he can get.
“I am looking forward to that event. I have a feeling that after experiencing the Masters and how tough the course plays, I will now think every other tournament is a lot easier,” he said.
“But seriously, I just have to play better than what I have been playing now. I know I have it in me and I’ve been playing well this whole season. I played well on the European Tour, I had two wins, so I know I can do it here too.”