Sharma goes head-to-head with the world’s elite

Tue 20 Mar 2018

Sharma goes head-to-head with the world’s elite


Singapore, March 20: The emergence of Shubhankar Sharma has been truly spectacular. After winning two tournaments, getting an invitation to the Masters Tournament and breaking the course record at his National Open, the Indian superstar will take his relentless momentum into the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play event that tees off this week.

Sharma qualified for the event as one of the top 64 golfers on the Official World Golf Ranking list on the week ending March 11. In round one, the current Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings leader will go head-to-head against SMBC Singapore Open champion Sergio Garcia at the Austin Country Club in Texas, United States.

“I’m really happy to be able to play in this tournament. My last match play event was at the All India Amateur Championship in 2013, which I won. That was the last event I played before I turned professional. I have great memories of playing this format, so I’m really looking forward to teeing off this Wednesday,” said Sharma, a two-time Asian Tour winner.

He added: “I will be adopting a more aggressive mindset during the event and aim for the flag so that I can get as many opportunities for birdies and eagles. You have to be up for the match as soon as you start and hopefully, get the chance to build upon your lead.”

Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat will also be contending at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. The 28-year-old would have sharpened his match play chops, having won his third Asian Tour title at the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth which featured a six-hole match play elimination format. He also won the Paul Lawrie Matchplay in 2015. Kiradech is drawn into Group 3, which features world number three Jon Rahm of Spain as well as Americans Chez Reavie and Keegan Bradley. 

"My last two wins were match play events, so I’m not worried. Match play is fun and it’s all about making birdies. It fits my aggressive style of play and I’m always willing to go for my drives or to shoot for the flags, even in stroke play events,” said Kiradech, the 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion 

Along with Garcia, Sharma is drawn into Group 7 with American Xander Schauffele, who finished tied-fifth at the 2015 U.S. Open and South African Dylan Frittelli, the 2017 AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open champion. The competition is intense, but Sharma is confident of performing above expectations at the event.

“It’s all about making as many birdies as possible. I’ve made many this season so I’m confident of my chances in Austin. I know that if I play my best golf, I’ll be able to beat a lot of players. It’ll be my first tournament in the United States and I’m sure it’ll be a great event.”