Driving from the rough...‘risky’ Karthik Sharma conquers Poona golf course
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Driving from the rough...‘risky’ Karthik Sharma conquers Poona golf course

Sharma currently ranks 6th on the Indian amateur circuit and it was his second win this year

pune Updated: Nov 26, 2018 16:36 IST
Shivani S
Shivani S
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,amateur golf championship,Karthik Sharma
Karthik Sharma winner, amateur golf championship, 2018.(HT/PHOTO)

Kartik Sharma, winner of the Indian golf union (IGU) western India amateur golf championship 2018, which took place at the Poona golf course from November 19-23, tells Shivani Singh how he managed to ace a golf course which didn’t suit his style of playing. Sharma currently ranks 6th on the Indian amateur circuit and it was his second win this year.

Firstly, did you expect to win the championship and how was your play over the last four days?

Last four days, I think I played great golf. I knew I had been playing quite well over the last couple of weeks and it was just a matter of amalgamation of everything going into this week. I executed my game plan well and played like I usually do and it worked out quite well for me.

You are usually not a straight hitter of the golf ball, yet you managed to ace this narrow course.

When I played the practice round on the course, I decided that a player could have two strategies, either he could try to play it short and hit it in the fairway; or the player could play the longer club, place the ball in the rough and then play from the rough. I opted for the second one, as I felt that if I miss the fairway, I might as well miss it long.

A very risky option on this course...

I know it is risky, but I felt comfortable doing it the whole week and it worked out for me.

Wind was a major factor determining play on the last two days, how did you manage your game?

I have always loved playing golf in the wind. The way I play it really helps me when it’s really windy because my ball flight is a little lower than everyone else. Also, I have played a lot of golf in the wind and I feel like it’s an advantage for me because when it gets really windy I love those conditions whereas other people might feel out of place. I felt quite comfortable and managed my game well.

How did the course play?

I think the course is quite difficult and it was quite windy on all the four days. It is one of the most difficult courses that we play throughout the year.

Compared to your home course (DLF golf course in Delhi), how would you rate the Poona golf course?

They are both quite difficult golf courses. Poona is obviously a very narrow golf course off the tee and if you miss the fairway, you might be in trouble. You are still in play, but then you really should have a good recovery game which I feel is always an advantage for me because I play a lot of golf from the tree (rough). DLF on the other hand has tricky greens and here the greens are flatter, but the fairways are narrow, so both are quite challenging.

You maintained your lead well over four days.

I felt very confident about the way I was playing. I had a good plan going into the week and I I executed it well. First day was good and then the third day was quite good too.

Going into the game, did you feel that the home players had an advantage in the championship?

I did feel coming into the week that it would have been an advantage for city players because it’s their home course, but at the end of the day it’s a game. You might play well and you might not play well, you cant really force it to happen.

Planning to improve your ranking by the end of the year?

I just have two events left for the year, one in Ahmedabad next week and then the last event of the year, the all India championship in Mumbai. Ranking is a by product of how I play, so I don’t really believe in the concept. I just have to play and the ranking will take care of itself.

What’s your plan five years down the line?

Five years from now I see myself as one of the top players in Europe and winning the Open championships.

Any advice for players tackling the Poona course?

Hit it long and hit it straight. For any golf course, if you have a game plan that you trust, you should go ahead with it. If you can take the risk and go aggressive you should. Probably, you can go quite low on this golf course as well.

Kartik Sharma lifts western amateur championship trophy

Kartik Sharma (second from right) receiving the winner’s prize from Swastik Sirsikar (second from left), captain, Poona Golf Club. Andrew Pinto (extreme left), committee member, Poona Golf Club and Krishnan Ganapathy, tournament director, were also present at the event. ( HT )

Delhi-lad Kartik Sharma opened his campaign with a commanding six under 71 in the first round of the Indian golf union (IGU) western India amateur golf championship 2018. He stayed on course to card a 12-under par (65, 70, 67, 70) at the Poona Golf Club tourney, held from November 19-23.

City player Rohan Dhole Patil scored a nine-over par (75, 74, 71, 73) on all four days of play to grab the 16th position.

Harshjeet Sethie, 16, also from Delhi grabbed the runners-up position with four-under (68, 69, 74, 69) over four days of play. Hardik Chawda from Hyderabad brought in a score of one-under par (73, 69, 71, 70) on the final day to grab third place.

Sharma’s consistent rounds of 70 and 67 helped build a comfortable 9-shot lead at the beginning of the final round.

Ranked 1 on the current amateur list, Jay Pandya from Rajkot, failed to work his magic at the Poona Golf Course and scored a 15 over par (69, 79, 77, 74) over four days of play to finish at 28th. Pandya was among the top three on day 1, but failed to keep up his momentum on the course.

Seasoned golfer Gagan Verma found his rhythm on the last day scoring a 5-under 66 with four birdies in his 5 finishing holes, vaulting to the 5th position.

First Published: Nov 26, 2018 15:10 IST