Sharma gets massive boost ahead of #HIO2018

Wed 07 Mar 2018

Sharma gets massive boost ahead of #HIO2018

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New Delhi, India, March 7: Shubhankar Sharma of India received an invitation to play in the Masters Tournament, boosting his confidence even further as he contends at the US$1.75 million Hero Indian Open that tees off on Thursday.

The 21-year-old came off a top-10 finish at the WGC-Mexico Championship and flew halfway across the world to compete in his National Open, which will be contested at the Gary Player layout of the DLF Golf and Country Club from March 8 to 11.

Sharma was slightly disappointed with himself after his finish in Mexico, having led the tournament after 54 holes. However, the setback was all forgotten upon the call from Buzzy Johnson, Senior Director of the Masters Tournament. He is now focused on doing well at the Hero Indian Open, co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.


S.S.P. Chawrasia of India

Defending champion S.S.P. Chawrasia will be adopting the same strategy that led to him winning last year’s tournament by seven shots. The affable 39-year-old did not give anything away, and simply credited his win in 2017 to playing good golf.

Chawrasia has a brilliant record at his National Open, having won in 2015 and 2016 and finishing in second place in 2013 and 2014.

Compatriot Anirban Lahiri looks forward to competing in Asia and playing in front of his home fans. The 2015 Hero Indian Open champion and Asian Tour Order of Merit winner will be adopting a calm and patient approach to the tournament, given the challenging conditions and set up of the golf course.

The Hero Indian Open 2018 will have an elite field that comprises of five Asian Tour Order of Merit winners and more than 40 Asian Tour champions.

Did you know:

  • Shubhankar Sharma turned professional at a tender age of 16.
  • He made the mark in his second attempt at the Asian Tour Qualifying School in 2016. He went on to cap two top-10s in Bangladesh and Manila to finish inside top-60 on the Asian Tour Order of Merit and retain his Tour card for 2017.
  • In 2017, he enjoyed four top-10s in Singapore, Myanmar, Malaysia and Hong Kong prior to his breakthrough win at the Joburg Open in December. With the Joburg Open being part of The Open Qualifying Series, Sharma also secured a spot at The Open in 2018 thanks to his victory.
  • Sharma claimed his second victory in two months at the Maybank Championship in Malaysia last month after carding a final round 10-under-par 62.
  • He enjoyed a tied-ninth place finish at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship last week. It was his WGC debut and the result propelled him to a career-high 66th place on the Official World Golf Ranking, making him the highest-ranked Indian player in the world.
  • Sharma will be making his Major debut at The Masters next month, after accepting an invitation from Fred Ridley, Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament, on Tuesday.
  • Sharma is eligible to play in the PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship in Florida this week but he opted to play in his National Open at the Hero Indian Open this week.
  • S.S.P. Chawrasia will attempt to be the only golfer in Indian Open history to win the tournament three consecutive times.
  • Out of his six Asian Tour titles, five were won in India.
  • Chawrasia finished top-10 on the Asian Tour Order of Merit for three consecutive years, from 2015 to 2017.
  • His father was the greenskeeper at Royal Calcutta Golf Club, where he picked up the game at the age of 10 years old.
  • Anirban Lahiri won the Hero Indian Open in 2015, the same year he won the Asian Tour Order of Merit.
  • He is a seven-time Asian Tour winner. His maiden title was won in 2011, at the Panasonic Open India.
  • At last year’s Hero Indian Open, he finished in tied-fifth.
  • The DLF Golf and Country Club has hosted the Indian Open three times, in 2009, 2017 and 2018.

Player interviews:

Shubhankar Sharma (Ind)

I’m really happy with what has happened to me so far. Obviously, the Asian Tour played a big role, as the Tour has given me the opportunity to compete and helped me develop my game to my current level. 

I was quite tough on myself throughout the flight back to India, as I didn’t finish the tournament the way I want it, but as soon as I got the call, all the pain got washed away. I’m really happy to be able to play in the Masters Tournament. It’s every golfer’s dream to play in the Masters, and I’m no exception.

For a start, I wasn’t even sure if I was even going to play in the Joburg Open. Even after my win, I was just trying to play as much as I can. I wanted to show everyone that my win there wasn’t a fluke, then I managed to win the Maybank Championship, which is obviously good.

I started with PGTI and I was with the Asian Tour for the past three years. The progression has been great. It is tough to move out of India and compete internationally, as the conditions are different and you are away from your loved ones. It took me a few years. It was only in 2016 when I got my full Asian Tour card. I played pretty well last year and I’m very happy to cap off the year with a win. I’m very thankful to have the chance to play on the Asian Tour.

The Indian Open is very close to my heart. I witness every Indian Open before I turned professional. It has always been a dream for me if I can win it. I’m really looking forward to it. The field is great and the course is well maintained.

The toughest competition here at the Hero Indian Open is the golf course. It’s about managing yourself out there. Not a lot of players will finish under par this week. The course is player tougher compared to last year and it’s going to be a test of patience. A lot of great players are playing this week. So, may the best golfer win!

S.S.P. Chawrasia (Ind)

I’ve already won twice and I’m trying my best to win for the third consecutive time. I’m comfortable with the conditions in my country, which may explain why I’ve been playing well in the tournaments here.

All the players on Tour were saying, if the tournament is held in Indian, I’ll probably win it. They asked me what my secret is, but I told them that it is no secret; I simply play good golf!

I’ve last lost four times narrowly at the Indian Open, perhaps, that I have won twice just to balance things out. I won last year, so obviously that strategy worked. So, I’ll bring the same strategy to this year’s tournament.

I played well in the Indian Open for the last few years, which is why I can be in the top 10 of the Asian Tour Order of Merit! But on a more serious note, I’ve made recent some changes to my game plans to help me stay even more consistent. So, let’s see how it goes.

Anirban Lahiri (Ind)

This tournament brings back great memories. In 2009, the second year of the Asian Tour, I shot 64 on Sunday to finish third, which secured my card for the following year. The rest, as they say, is history.

The course is in great condition. It is better compared to last year, in general. The changes in the back nine may pose a challenge, especially if the wind picks up. The challenge out there will probably be the greens. If you land your ball in the wrong position, you will probably suffer. But it’s going to be the same for everyone. So, I’ll just aim to put the ball in play and land on the right positions on the greens.

The Asian Tour is home to me. Whenever I come back to Asia and play in tournaments like the Hero Indian Open, I see so many familiar faces. It’s definitely the fun Tour to play in the world, and I’ve played all over the world. I spent seven years here, worked my way up from the bottom, had to play in the Asian Qualifying School twice. In 2010, I had to play well in Cambodia to keep my playing card. I’ve really enjoyed here and I’ve learned a lot from the Asian Tour. The exposure has helped me be more appreciative when I have gone out west. The attitude I’ve developed while playing on the Asian Tour has also certainly helped me on the world stage.

Ends.

About Asian Tour

As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Rolex (Official Timekeeper), Panasonic (Official Consumer Electronics), Habitat for Humanity (Official Sustainable Development Partner), ECCO (Official Footwear Sponsor), Titleist and FootJoy (Official Web Partner), Bloomberg TV (Official International Media Partner), Bloomberg Businessweek Chinese (Official International Media Partner), Wall Street Journal (Official International Media Partner) and Sentosa in Singapore which is the Home of the Asian Tour which also has an office in Kuala Lumpur.

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