County Kildare, Ireland, 07-09-2023

Shubhankar Sharma's opening round 65 gives him one-stroke lead at Horizon Irish Open

India's Shubhankar Sharma carded a seven-under 65 to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Horizon Irish Open on the DP World Tour.

The 27-year-old produced three birdies in his opening eight holes before holing out for eagle from 105 yards on the Palmer North Course at The K Club, making the turn five under par. He then carded two further gains on the back nine to sign for a bogey-free seven under.

Sharma, who became the first Indian recipient of the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Trophy in 2018, is one stroke ahead of a pack of five golfers on six under par. On that number are Ross Fisher, winner of the Irish Open in 2010, Jordan Smith, 2018 Ryder Cup Captain Thomas Bjørn, who also won this event in 2006, Kristian Krogh Johannessen of Norway and Germany’s Marcel Schneider.

Shubhankar said, “It was really solid. I hit the ball pretty good and made a lot of putts until the back nine which was my front nine, and the round kind of got even better when I made that third shot off 18. I holed out from 105 yards. That got me to 5-under, and the front nine was solid again, which was my back nine.

“I haven't seen the stats but I'm sure I gained some strokes on the field with my putting. It was one of those days that the hole grew bigger and bigger. Really pleased, yes. I was great off the tee but the putter would be number one.”

Manu Gandas, the other Indian in the field, shot a 73 to be tied 104th.

Source: DP World Tour

Picture Courtesy: Getty Images

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