Atzenbrugg, Austria, 14-04-2021
Shubhankar Sharma on a European sojourn with eye on Olympic qualification
Picture: Gurbaaz Mann
Shubhankar Sharma resumes his European Tour campaign at this week’s Austrian Golf Open in Atzenbrugg near Vienna after a refreshing two-week break back home in India where he enjoyed a vacation at a quaint tea estate in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh, along with friend and fellow professional Khalin Joshi.
Two-time European Tour winner Shubhankar, even though not at his best in recent months, has shown some spark early in the year with three top-30s from his six starts on the European Tour including a best finish of tied 22nd at the Dubai Desert Classic.
“It’s been an average year for me so far but I’m looking at the positives. I’m playing much better than the results suggest, I’m in a good frame of mind and in good physical condition at the moment,” said 24-year-old Sharma, the 2018 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion.
Shubhankar, currently ranked 380 in the world, is aware that playing on the European Tour for five weeks on the trot gives him a great opportunity to get back in reckoning for the Tokyo Olympics.
The Chandigarh-based player, currently 101st on the European Tour Race to Dubai, said, “The Olympics are definitely on my mind as it would be an honour to represent India at one of the biggest sporting events. I know a few good weeks in Europe would bring me back in contention for an Olympic berth but I’m not thinking too far ahead at the moment and am just focused on the job at hand.
“One of my goals this year is to finish high on the Race to Dubai. It’s going to be quite a challenge as all the events over the next six months will be played in the tough European conditions with the wind and weather coming into play. I’m playing here at the Diamond Country Club in Austria for the first time and the wind and freezing temperature will be a big test this week,” added Shubhankar, as the European Tour now moves to European soil after staging its first six events of the year in the Middle-East and Africa.
The Indian trio of Sharma, SSP Chawrasia and Ajeetesh Sandhu will be competing in Austria this week. Incidentally, Jeev Milkha Singh is the 2008 champion of the Austrian Golf Open.
Shubhankar, who admitted to taking a vacation after a long time, also indulged in the adventure activity of paragliding during his holiday in Himachal Pradesh.
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