India’s Shubhankar Sharma resumes chase for PGA TOUR card
Texas, May 23: Refreshed after a three-week break, India’s Shubhankar Sharma will resume his chase for a PGA TOUR card after receiving invitations to tee up in the Fort Worth Invitational starting on Thursday and the Memorial Tournament next week.
The 21-year-old Sharma is eager to accumulate precious FedExCup points to enhance his hopes of joining countryman Anirban Lahiri Stateside following an eye-catching tied ninth finish at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship in early March.
After zig-zagging across the globe where he played in 12 tournaments during a span of 15 weeks, the young Indian finally enjoyed a well-earned break at home and did not touch his clubs for three days before resuming light work with his coach.
“I practically did nothing and had a wonderful time with my family and friends,” said Sharma.
“The break also gave me time to work on my game and fitness, as well as refining some parts of my game to get ready for the second half of the year. I feel really good, the game feels good. It’s been a fruitful three weeks. Now, I have to go out there and shoot some good numbers.”
Sharma tees off at the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas this week, a venue which he believes fits his game and eye. He is also excited about next week’s Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, a tournament hosted by legend Jack Nicklaus.
“Colonial is a great layout … it’s narrow, has a few long holes but is not overly long in general. You’ve got to position well off the tees and the greens are relatively small, which means you’ve got to be on top of your game. I like courses where you have to be accurate off the tee, and this reminds me a bit of the course in Mexico,” said Sharma.
“I’m also looking forward to playing in the Memorial. Jack Nicklaus is a legend and I’ve seen the event on TV over the years. It’ll be great teeing up there. If I can put up some good performances, that would be the icing on the cake. I’m thankful to receive these invites as it’s giving me a chance to get my card on the PGA TOUR. I’ve got to make use of these opportunities.”
His close friend and clubfitter, Gurbaaz Mann will resume caddying duties over the next two weeks, reprising their successful partnership which led to the impressive run in Mexico where Sharma led after days two and three. “He’s been a friend for so long and he helps my game too. If there’s any problem with my swing, he’ll be able to pick it up,” said Sharma, who is the current Asian Tour No. 1.
Being at home for an extended period of time allowed Sharma and his team to analyse his progress and reassess his goals for the remainder of the year. “When you’re playing so many events in a row, you won’t -feel 100 percent with the game and I think it happens to every player. It’s part and parcel of the game and you try to play through it,” he said.
“The past few months have been a lot of learning for me. The amount of travelling and playing allowed me to know more about myself and how I need to adapt and react to different courses and situations. It’s a year of firsts for me … playing in new events and on new courses every week and I’m trying to take in as much as possible. I have expectations but I’m not putting pressure on myself.
“Obviously, I had a great week in Mexico but I didn’t play too well after that. A few aspects of my game were not working and I’ve got to learn to manage that part of the game.”
Countryman Lahiri will also be in the elite field at Colonial this week, with his confidence boosted following a T26 finish at the AT&T Byron Nelson on Sunday which ended a run of two missed cuts. He finished strongly with an eagle and two birdies over his last three holes which he hopes will provide the momentum for a strong run at the Fort Worth Invitational.