Abu Dhabi, UAE, 23-01-2022

Shubhankar Sharma clinches joint runner-up finish at Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after his last round effort of 71; Sharma bags biggest prize money cheque of his career

Shubhankar moves into tied second place in the DP World Tour Rankings

Shubhankar Sharma (70-71-67-71) clinched a joint runner-up finish at the US$ 8 million Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship at a total of nine-under 279 after his final round effort of one-under 71 at the Yas Links Golf Club in Abu Dhabi.

Shubhankar finished one shot behind winner Thomas Pieters of Belgium. The Indian shared second place with Rafa Cabrera Bello of Spain.

Shubhankar, who bagged the biggest prize money cheque of his career worth Euro 610,736, moved into tied second place in the DP World Tour Rankings as a result of his outstanding performance in the second event of the season. Sharma is now also likely to make big gains in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) from his current position of 281.

Interestingly, Shubhankar's earnings from the event are the second-highest by an Indian on the DP World Tour after Jeev Milkha Singh's winning prize purse of Euro 666,660 from the Volvo Masters 2006.

Sharma, lying overnight tied fourth and three shots off the lead, began the final round well with a great chip on the par-5 second that led to a tap-in birdie. However, the two-time winner on the DP World Tour, then dropped a double-bogey on the next hole where his tee shot found the water. It was an up and down front-nine for Shubhankar as he collected another birdie with a 30-feet conversion on the fifth before stumbling with a bogey on the eighth.

Former Asia No. 1 Shubhankar began to push ahead on the back-nine and emerged as a major contender for the title when he sank two mammoth 30-feet birdie putts on the 10th and 14th. But on the 17th Sharma missed a crucial six-footer to concede a bogey and fall two shots behind the leader Thomas Pieters.

Shubhankar signed off in style on the par-5 18th where his third shot from the rough landed within five feet of the hole and resulted in a birdie.

Sharma, who won the last of his two DP World Tour titles almost four years back in February 2018, said, "I gave it my all out there. I wasn't really looking at the leaderboard in the end as there was already too much to deal with on the course with the high winds and the tough pin positions. But I'm happy with the way I battled out there all week in the tough conditions.

"I made some really good two-putts on the eighth, 12th and 13th today.

"This week's performance just makes me hungrier to go out there and win. I feel like my game is there. I'm very close to winning and I'm playing well. It's a great start to the season for me. I want to take all the confidence from here into the coming events.

"As long as I maintain that intent to win and continue doing my routines correctly which I did this week, eventually the win will come."

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