Record breaking Shubhankar Sharma chases down Grillo at Hero Indian Open 2018
Gurugram, March 9: Local hero Shubhankar Sharma put on a sublime display to set the new course record at DLF Golf and Country Club and pile the pressure on leader Emiliano Grillo heading into round three at the Hero Indian Open 2018.
Argentinian Grillo seemed to have put himself into a commanding position at the close of the morning session, recording a four under par round of 68 to get to 11 under par. Although he retains a four-shot lead, a charging Sharma will be hot on his heels when they tee off together after the resumption of round two on Saturday.
Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex leader Shubhankar Sharma – who is sponsored by Take Solutions, DLF and Indorama Ventures Plc., posted nine birdies and a solitary bogey in a course record 64 to get to seven under par, bettering Grillo’s record-equalling round of 65 yesterday.
Sharma’s surge was all the more remarkable considering he was five over after his first nine holes on Thursday, and drew praise from his playing partner, England’s Andrew Johnston, who is one shot back at six under par, alongside Spaniard Pablo Larrazábal.
“Today’s round will definitely rank up there as one of my most significant achievements, especially when it is played at this course. This is a tough course and it is not easy to go low here. I’m very happy with the way I played. I’ve shot a few low numbers in my career and this one is right in my top five,” said Shubhankar.
“If you told me I would be seven-under-par going into the weekend after being five-over-par on my opening nine holes (10th to 18th) yesterday, I would just have laughed. To be able to bounce back is really important, I knew I was playing well and I had to push myself a little. In the morning, I told myself that I have momentum on my side. I just need to foot on the pedal and keep on going.
“I knew the course record was seven-under-par. To hold the record on my home course would be mean a lot to me. That was why, I decided to go for the green (on 18). I’m just going to play the way that I’ve always been playing. I’m just going to have fun. I know I’m playing well and I have nothing to lose.”
England’s Matt Wallace, South African Keith Horne, Swede Jens Dantorp, and Panuphol Pittayarat of Thailand are in a share of fifth at five under par, a shot clear of a group of eight players including France’s Sébastien Gros, Dutchman Joost Luiten, Scot Marc Warren, American Paul Peterson and South Korea’s Jeunghun Wang.
Nine players will return to complete round two at 7 am on Saturday after play was stopped due to darkness. With a projected cut of three over par, India’s SSP Chawrasia has missed out on the chance to seal the title for the third consecutive year, with a second round 77 taking his total to seven over par.
Grillo, who stayed way ahead for the second day running, said, “It (the round) was pretty similar to yesterday, although I made a few more birdie putts in round one. Today, I also hit plenty of fairways and greens. I thought that I played the round very well. Hopefully, I can find my putter a bit more tomorrow.”
On being 11-under-par on this challenging golf course, Grillo added, “Honestly, I wasn’t expecting it. When I practiced on Tuesday and played the pro-am on Wednesday, I was telling myself that I’d be in a good position if I can just shoot under par every day. Hopefully, I can keep my form going. I’ve done well over the past two days and I can’t ask for more.”
“It was pretty similar to yesterday, although I made a few more birdie putts in round one. Today, I have also hit plenty of fairways and greens. I thought that I played the round very well. Hopefully I can find my putter a bit more tomorrow, like how it was on day one and with that, I can keep climbing up the leaderboard,” said Larrazabal
“I played great. The front nine I played great golf. I put myself in a lot of birdie chances. The tee shots on ten and 11 were a little unexpected. I probably lost a bit of concentration on the tenth. When you have a bad swing on this golf course with the next swing you make you never know what will happen.
Patience is key. Big time. You don’t see too much wind out there but it’s switching. Three or four meters makes a lot of difference in this golf course. To finish under par is great.
We all know that Grillo is a super, top-class player. He should be in the top 20 in the world. He doesn’t know how good he is. I like to go and play against the best in the world and he is one. I’m ready for the challenge”