Mixed opening day for Shubhankar Sharma at Hero Open golf in UK

Sharma carded four birdies but double-bogeys at the start of the back nine spoiled his start in Birmingham.

By Rahul Venkat

Indian golfer Shubhankar Sharma had a steady if unspectacular start to his European Tour comeback as he shot one-over 73 in round 1 of the UK Swing’s Hero Open on Thursday.

Playing at the Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel and Country Club at Birmingham, England, Shubhankar Sharma started well, carding a birdie on the par-4 second.

The Indian golfer went one better on the next hole, scoring an eagle on the par-5 third.

“That was nice coming after a 15-foot birdie. I hit two good shots and holed a 15-footer for eagle,” the 24-year-old Sharma told PTI after the day ended.

Sharma hit a bogey on the fourth but made up for it with a third birdie on the par-4 ninth to card three-under for the round at that point.

However, Shubhankar Sharma’s fortunes swung at the beginning of the back nine.

The Indian golfer hit a double-bogey on the par-4 10th and followed it up with a bogey on the 11th and just when he seemed to have regained his composure with a birdie on the par-5 12th, Sharma carded another double-bogey on the 13th hole.

“The tee shot on the 10th and 13th cost me a lot. On the 10th, I hit it slightly to the left and then did not have a shot, so I chipped out and then missed the up-and-down. On the 13th, the wind took the tee shot a little too much to the left and I lost the ball,” he said.

Shubhankar Sharma.

Shubhankar Sharma kept it clean for the rest of the round to end the opening day tied-89th.

However, the Indian golfer, who has two titles on the European Tour, was confident of making the cut with an improved showing in the second round.

“I did not feel any rust because I have been playing and keeping scores at home in Chandigarh. Just need to tighten those small errors and it should be fine,” he stated.

“I feel I can get it all back tomorrow.”

Jimenez makes history

It was a historic moment for Spanish golfer Miguel Angel Jimenez at the start of the Hero Open as he made his 707th start, the most by any player on the European Tour.

The 56-year-old Jimenez, a 21-time winner on the European Tour, overtook former Scottish golfer Sam Torrance’s long-standing record of 706 starts.

The Spaniard enjoyed a bogey-free day to card a superb eight-under 64 and end the first round tied-second with compatriot Pablo Larrazabal. Another Spaniard, Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez leads the pack, two strokes ahead.