Shubhankar Sharma maintains momentum to stay in lead at Irish Open - Hindustan Times

Shubhankar Sharma maintains momentum to stay in lead at Irish Open

Sep 08, 2023 09:33 PM IST

After 27 holes, Sharma was bogey-free and 14 under with 12 birdies and one eagle at the K Club.

India's Shubhankar Sharma was unstoppable for the first nine as he raced through the front nine in 7-under 28 with seven birdies and two pars to stay in the lead in the second round of the Irish Open golf at Kildare (Ireland) on Friday.

Shubhankar Sharma(Getty Images)
Shubhankar Sharma(Getty Images)

After 27 holes, Sharma was bogey-free and 14 under with 12 birdies and one eagle at the K Club.

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A bogey each on the Par-5 tenth and the Par-4 17th where he went into the water pushed him back as he had two bogeys and a birdie on 11th for a day's work of 6-under after the first round 7-under.

At 13-under he was sox shots ahead of the next player at one stage.

Later in the afternoon, Jordan Smith, who shot 6-under 66 in the first round was 7-under through 12 holes to get to 13-under and join Sharma. Smith still had six holes to play.

"I was a really quick start. A bit early in the morning for us. I was a little sleepy, too," said Sharma.

"I had nine single putts. I don't think I have done that before. It was amazing. It was flowing nicely. I was hitting in the right spots and I was really good inside 10 feet.

"It was still hot, unusual for Ireland. The greens were better. It is still gettable and scoreable"

He added. "I am not much of a stats guy. Good you told me. I am a bit of a feel guy. I was sick last week but played good this week. I have been working on some things and it's good to see things working out."

After finishing late on the first day, Sharma was among the early starters on the second day, and he was quick off the blocks.

Birdies on first and second were followed by two more on fourth and fifth. The run continued with three in a row from seventh to ninth. At the turn he was seven under with seven birdies and two bogeys in 7-under 28.

He needed just nine putts for the front nine and all were single putts. On the back nine, the run stopped with two bogeys and just one birdie.

Freddy Schott of Germany who had a 71 on first day added 64 on the second to get to nine-under and with him was Ross Fisher, who shot 66 on the first day and was 3-under through eight holes in the second.

On the first day Sharma compiled his best round of 2023 as he put together a bogey free 7-under 65 that included an eagle and five birdies to sit at the top.

Sharma, who had a super Top-10 finish at the Open in July, has had just one other Top-10 this season, which was T-7 at the first event of 2023 in Abu Dhabi.

Ranked 65th on the Race to Dubai, and needing to be inside Top-50 to make the season-ending DP World Tour Championships in November in Dubai, Sharma started from the tenth tee late in the afternoon on the Palmer North Course.

It was not a great day for the other Indian in the field, Manu Gandas, who shot 1-over 73 and was lying T-104th, needing a very low round to make the cut.

Sharma was the first Indian recipient of the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Trophy on DP World Tour in 2018.

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