Gurugram, Haryana, 11 Mar 2018

Shubhankar Sharma slips on final day of Indian Open to finish tied seventh

Englishman Matt Wallace triumphs after defeating compatriot Andrew Johnston in a playoff

India’s Shubhankar Sharma fired his highest number of the week, a three-over-75, in round four of the US$ 1.75 million Hero Indian Open 2018, to drop dramatically from overnight tied first and end the tournament in tied seventh at four-under-284.

Englishman Matt Wallace (69-70-70-68) defeated compatriot Andrew Johnston (72-66-73-66) in a playoff to lift the trophy after the two were tied at the top with matching totals of 11-under-277 at the end of the regulation 72 holes.

The 21-year-old Shubhankar (73-64-72-75), who came to the tournament with high expectations as the winner of two European Tour events in the last three months, slipped on the final day at his home course, the DLF Golf & Country Club, after struggling with his ball-striking.

Shubhankar, who also had a tied ninth finish at last week’s WGC – Mexico Championship, made a solid start with two birdies on the first four holes. However, disaster struck for the European Tour Race to Dubai leader when he found the water on the fifth and the bushes on the seventh that led to two double-bogeys.

Thereafter Sharma’s challenge faded away as he managed four birdies but also conceded three bogeys and a double-bogey.
The Chandigarh-resident Shubhankar, who ahead of the final round, was in line to become the first Indian to win three European Tour titles in one season, said, “It was a disappointing day for me. I had a few bad swings at the start that put me off my rhythm. The double-bogey on the fifth compounded my problems. Thereafter, it was all about trying to catch up with the lead.

“I had a few birdies today but there were just too many bogeys for my liking. But these things happen. Regardless of the result I’m quite happy that after being five-over through the first nine holes of the tournament I managed to finish with a four-under total.

“I thank the crowd here at the DLF Golf & Country Club for their outstanding support through the week. A lot of good things have happened with me over the past few months, I’ll now try my best to carry forward the momentum in the coming months.

“I’m looking forward to a good week of rest next week at home in Panchkula. I’m excited about playing the match-play format after a long time at the WGC Match Play later this month. I won the last match-play event I played, the All India Amateur Championship in 2013.

“I also can’t wait for the Masters. I’ll have to sit down with my coach Jesse Grewal and prepare my game-plan for the year’s first Major which I have watched numerous times on television.” 

The silver lining for Shubhankar, who picked up a cheque of US$ 48,125 for his effort this week, was that he continues to lead the European Tour Race to Dubai and the Asian Tour Order of Merit.   

Jyoti Randhawa and amateur Kshitij Naveed Kaul were the next best Indians in tied 32nd with totals of five-over-293. Kaul finished as the best amateur in the field.

Anirban Lahiri was tied 34th at six-over-294 while Khalin Joshi and Ajeetesh Sandhu took tied 40th place with scores of seven-over-295.

Karandeep Kochhar came in tied 48th at nine-over-297 while Udayan Mane was placed 52nd at 11-over-299.

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