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Sizzling Shubhankar Sharma sinks course record in Indian Open golf

Shubhankar Sharma, in red-hot form, reeled off eight-under for the day to be just four shots behind halfway leader Emiliano Grillo of Argentina at the Indian Open golf

other sports Updated: Mar 09, 2018 21:55 IST
Robin Bose
Robin Bose
Gurgaon
Shubhankar Sharma,Indian Open golf,Hero Indian Open
Shubhankar Sharma broke the course record at the Indian Open golf in Gurgaon on Friday.(Getty Images)

Glad tidings continue to pour in for Shubhankar Sharma. In a sign of what could lie ahead, Shubhankar broke the course record in a late charge with an eight-under 64 to lie sole second at the halfway mark in the Hero Indian Open on Friday.

After the news of him getting another invite, this time to the PGA Tour’s Valero Texas Open in April following the Augusta Masters call, Friday ended in a way that would be remembered by the 21-year-old.

Five-over after nine holes at the start on Thursday to be where he is, a climb of 53 spots, it wasn’t moving up the leaderboard that spurred him on.

“I don’t look at it as it often doesn’t give the correct picture,” he said, but pointed to the record score on a course where he’s played a lot of his recent golf. Especially after Pablo Larrazabal equalled the seven-under 65 on Thursday.

As SSP Chawrasia’s two-year reign came to an end, a piece of statistic followed the probable successor, Emiliano Grillo, around the DLF Golf and Country Club. Grillo shot a four-under 68 to extend his clubhouse lead by four shots, but no leader early on has won this season on the European Tour.

Perhaps oblivious to that piece of nugget as PGA Tour winner Grillo is here on a sponsor’s invite, the amiable Argentine breezed through Day Two, happy to pull off what he’d promised himself at the start of the week.

“When I practised on Tuesday and Wednesday, I told myself I’ll be in a good position if I can shoot under-par every day.”

With reputations taking a knock all around him -- Chawrasia missing cut only one of the stories of the day, Grillo could afford to come away smiling despite finishing with a bogey on the 9th, his lone blemish of the round.

Unperturbed by the uncertainties of golf, Grillo maintained that the mentality for the weekend would stay the same -- “hit fairways and greens whether I’m leader or not”. Not just the form, Grillo is in a happy space for having ticked a couple of more boxes.

Eager to get out of the monotony of playing on golf courses in the US almost similar in nature, and criss-crossing states in the name of travel, Grillo grabbed the opportunity to take the long flight to India for the second time after 2013 (for the Avantha Masters). As soon as the invite came, he checked if Anirban Lahiri was making the trip as well, and the nod helped.

Grillo hasn’t lent much thought to it, but the two have struck a bond ever since Anirban broke through on the PGA Tour after the strong finish at the 2015 PGA Championship. It started with playing a round together here and there and hanging out thereafter. “It was our wives who got us together and I realised that he was a fun guy to be with, someone who could take a joke on him.”

Leading scores

133: Emiliano Grillo (65, 68)

137: Shubhankar Sharma (73, 64)

138: Pablo Larrazabal (67, 71); Andrew Johnston (72, 66)

139: Matt Wallace (69, 70); Keith Horne (66, 73); Jens Dantrop (69, 70); Panuphol Pittayarat (69, 70)

Projected cut at three-over 147.

First Published: Mar 09, 2018 20:06 IST