Sharma stays close to leader Burgoon at the CIMB Classic

Thu 11 Oct 2018

Sharma stays close to leader Burgoon at the CIMB Classic

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Kuala Lumpur, October 11: Shubhankar Sharma turned his fortunes around with a solid back-nine 31 as he returned with a five-under-par 67 to trail the first round leader Bronson Burgoon by four shots at the US$7 million CIMB Classic on Thursday. 

Sharma, the current Habitat for Humanity Standings leader, turned in 36 before shooting five birdies on his homeward nine to sit in tied 14th place in his first appearance at the event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and PGA TOUR at TPC Kuala Lumpur.

Burgoon, also making his debut at the CIMB Classic, registered a remarkable 63 to take a one-shot lead over Austin Cook while Chinese Taipei’s C.T. Pan, Scott Piercy and Billy Horschel, the 2014 FedEx Cup champion, were a further shot back in tied third place.

World number four Justin Thomas, a two-time CIMB Classic champion, shot a 66 to tie in sixth place with eight other players including Nick Watney, who won the event in 2012, Major champion Louis Oosthuizen, Byeonghun An of Korea and Ryder Cup winner Paul Casey.

The 22-year-old Sharma, a two-time Asian Tour winner, continued to impress in the country where he tasted success in February. He got off to a slow start but bounced back brilliantly with five birdies in the last nine holes.

The round of the day belonged to Burgoon, who bogeyed the 13th hole before recovering with three straight birdies and holed-out for eagle from the greenside bunker on the 18th hole. He added five more birdies in his last nine holes to equal his career’s low round in relation to par.

Malaysia’s Ben Leong fired a 68 to tie in 20th place while nine-time Asian Tour winner Gaganjeet Bhullar of India and Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand, the 2013 Asian Tour number one, shared 26th place after shooting matching 69s.

Did you know?

  • This is Bronson Burgoon’s first appearance in the CIMB Classic. He matched his career’s low round of nine-under-par 62 at the John Deere Classic earlier this year where he finished tied second.
  • He was hot with his irons after hitting 17 out of 18 greens in regulation.
  • Burgoon opened the 2018-19 PGA TOUR Season with a tied-53rd place finish at the Safeway Open last week.
  • Austin Cook ended his round in style when he birdied four of his closing five holes. After missing left on the green on the par-four ninth hole, which is his last hole of the day, he chipped in for birdie to close with a 64.
  • Shubhankar Sharma won his second Asian Tour title in Malaysia in February. He has held the lead on the Asian Tour’s Habitat for Humanity Standings since the victory.
  • He hit 11/14 fairways and missed only two greens in regulation but struggled with the putter where he totalled 28 putts. He had one three-putt on the second hole which resulted in a bogey.
  • Sharma needs a good result this week as he aims to become the Asian Tour number one. With earnings of US$608,494, he leads by US$54,278 over Sanghyun Park who shot a 72 today.
  • Thomas, the highest ranked player in the elite field, started his campaign with eight birdies against two bogeys.
  • He is aiming to become the first player to win three CIMB Classic titles after winning the showpiece in 2015 and 2016.

Player interviews:

Bronson Burgoon (USA) – First Round 63 (-9)

I mean, I drove it well and I putted pretty good, so it was kind of – I mean, it was boring golf, but that's always a good thing. I chipped in for eagle out of the bunker on my ninth hole, which kind of boosted me and kept me going.

I took quite a bit of time off after the Playoffs and last week I was pretty rusty, but I felt it kind of coming. Yesterday I was thankful I was able to play the pro-am and I felt it going a little bit. I was feeling pretty good before I teed off today.

You have to putt well to play well. I typically drive it pretty good, so when I putt, I play pretty good.

Austin Cook (USA) – First Round 64 (-8)

It was just one of those days everything was going my way. Two chip-ins, four -- two of the last four holes, one out of the bunker and there on number nine, that was a tough chip. Didn't -- still a chip, would only go about four feet by, but got lucky, hit the flagstick to fall in. Great way to start the year, hopefully I can keep the momentum going.

This year, obviously with the win last season I've got full status, but no matter what, it's still nice to get off strong so you can kind of not really take the rest of the year easy, but you've got a good start to the season. You've got a lot of points made, decent money, whatever it may be and you kind of just play your game, you don't have to force it throughout the year.

So the better you play sooner, the easier it is later in the season to just play your game and not really be too aggressive and force the ball.

Justin Thomas (Usa) – First Round 66 (-6)

Yeah, it was a good day. Kind of up and down. I got off to a good start and then kind of stalled out a little bit there in the middle. Hung in there and just really didn't hit my irons very well. I just didn't take advantage of a couple opportunities and let a couple go, but kind of found something there those last five holes and was able to at least make a good round of it today.

You have to play well here every day or at least get -- you know, a round like today is what could end up winning me this golf tournament. Not having -- pretty far from my best stuff and getting around here from six-under is huge.

Shubhankar Sharma (Ind) – First Round 67 (-5)

Very happy with the way I played. I didn't get off to the best of starts on the front nine, I was level par after the front nine, but was really happy with the way I fought back and shot five-under.

I hit a few bad shots on the front nine and that really put me off, which shouldn't happen normally when you're playing. So I just told myself to be calm and just try and give it my best on the back nine and things fell into place and I made a few crucial putts.

I just wasn't getting the club in the right place on the backswing. Because of that, I wasn't really squaring it up and I wasn't really hitting it close. I thought the front nine was playing pretty easy today, especially after birdieing the first, I three-putted the second, didn't birdie the third from the right of the green, which was pretty easy. I felt like I left a few shots out there.

And then I was pretty frustrated with what I did on the eighth, I duffed my chip from the front edge and I made bogey there. So felt like I give a lot of shots out there, but I think I recovered really well on the back nine, made some crucial birdies to start with a birdie on the 10th and then the 11th as well was a great birdie. That just kind of set the things in motion for me and I played really well then.

Scores after round 1 of the CIMB Classic being played at the par 72, 7005 Yards TPC Kuala Lumpur course (am - denotes amateur):

63 - Bronson Burgoon (USA).

64 - Austin Cook (USA).

65 - Scott Piercy (USA), Billy Horschel (USA), C.T. Pan (TPE).

66 - Nick Watney (USA), Emiliano Grillo (ARG), Kevin Chappell (USA), Justin Thomas (USA), Louis Oosthuizen (RSA), Joel Dahmen (USA), Byeonghun An (KOR), Paul Casey (ENG).

67 - Chesson Hadley (USA), Abraham Ancer (MEX), Siwoo Kim (KOR), J.B. Holmes (USA), Shubhankar Sharma (IND), Scott Stallings (USA).

68 - Ernie Els (RSA), Stewart Cink (USA), Kevin Na (USA), Marc Leishman (AUS), Ryan Palmer (USA), Ben Leong (MAS).

69 - Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND), Whee Kim (USA), Danny Lee (NZL), Ryan Armour (USA), Cameron Smith (AUS), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA), Charles Howell III (USA), Gary Woodland (USA), Xander Schauffele (USA).

About CIMB Group

CIMB Group is one of ASEAN’s leading universal bank, one of the largest investment banks in Asia and one of the largest Islamic banks in the world. As the fifth largest banking group in ASEAN, we have over 36,000 staff in 15 countries across ASEAN, Asia and beyond. CIMB Investment Bank provides market-leading conventional and Islamic financial advice for a tailored delivery of banking solutions to our clients. We have structured and executed award winning deals which showcase our ability to innovate and help our clients achieve their goals. CIMB also has an extensive retail banking network of around 830 branches serving more than 14 million customers. Beyond ASEAN, we also have presence in China & Hong Kong, India, Sri Lanka, Korea, the US and the UK. Read more about CIMB Group at www.cimb.com

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.

About PGA TOUR

By showcasing golf’s greatest players, the PGA TOUR engages, inspires and positively impacts our fans, partners and communities worldwide.The PGA TOUR co-sanctions more than 130 tournaments on the PGA TOUR, PGA TOUR Champions, Web.com Tour, PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada and PGA TOUR Series-China. Members on the PGA TOUR represent the world’s best players, hailing from 27 countries (88 members are from outside the United States). Worldwide, PGA TOUR tournaments are broadcast to more than 1 billion households in 226 countries and territories in 23 languages. Virtually all tournaments are organized as non-profit organizations to maximize charitable giving. In 2017, tournaments across all Tours generated a record of more than $180 million for local and national charitable organizations, bringing the all-time total to $2.65 billion.The PGA TOUR's website is PGATOUR.COM, the No. 1 site in golf, and the organization is headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.