India’s Shubhankar Sharma storms to victory at Maybank Championship
Kuala Lumpur, February 4: Shubhankar Sharma carded a sensational closing 62 to win his second European Tour title of the season at the Maybank Championship.
The Indian claimed his maiden victory in just his tenth event at the Joburg Open in December and made it two from 13 at Saujana Golf & Country Club as his bogey-free finish got him to 21 under.
Video courtesy European Tour
Spaniard Jorge Campillo finished two shots back after firing a 68, a shot clear of his compatriot Pablo Larrazábal and New Zealand’s Ryan Fox.
The win takes Shubhankar Sharma, who is sponsored by Take Solutions, DLF and Indorama Ventures Plc., to the top of the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex and he becomes just the third Indian after Jeev Milkha Singh and Anirban Lahiri to win two European Tour events in the same season.
Shubhankar made four birdies in a row from the fourth to get within two of the lead and then holed a long putt on the ninth to turn in 31 and cut the gap to one. The 21-year-old never looked back as he went on to fire five birdies on the back nine to match the ten under par Englishman Lee Westwood carded in round two earlier this week.
“I played pretty solid and it wasn’t easy because it was windy. I kept pushing the whole day. I knew I had to make a lot birdies to catch the leaders. I made a lot of birdies in the front nine and just continued on the back,” said Shubhankar.
“To be honest, I wasn’t thinking about the leaderboard. I wanted to set a target in my mind and try to achieve it. On the 13th I knew I was somewhere near the leaders but on 16 I knew I had a two-shot lead. I told myself if I can make two more birdies, that would give me a good chance to win.
“The last two months have changed my life. I’ve been a member on the Asian Tour for a while and I will continue to be a member on the Asian Tour. I’ve always dreamt of winning and now I’m a two-time winner on the Asian Tour and European Tour.
“It is still early in the season and I haven’t thought about winning the Habitat for Humanity Standings (formerly Asian Tour Order of Merit). I’m also leading in the Race to Dubai but I’m not thinking about it because there are so many events left. If I play well enough, I will have a good chance to win the Habitat for Humanity Standings. This win is great because it opens so many doors for me. I’m also playing in The Open so I’m excited about that. All and all, it is a great day.
“This is a very special golf course. I finished tied ninth here last year and it was my first Maybank Championship and best result in a co-sanctioned event. I kept my Asian Tour card here because of this result here. Obviously, I love the course. It wasn’t easy today because it was very windy but this course suits my eye,” signed off Shubhankar.
Italian Nino Bertasio and Japanese pair Ryo Ishikawa and Hideto Tanihara all carded rounds of 69 to finish at 16 under alongside India’s Khalin H Joshi, who is Sharma’s roommate this week, and South African Dylan Frittelli who finished with a 71. American Berry Henson also carded a 71 to finish at 15 under and close out the top ten.
“I started really good. I started good in the first eight holes then I missed my drive on the ninth hole. After that I made some good up-and-downs and gave myself some birdie chance. I finished good so I’m happy with that.
“I knew he had to shoot low but not that low. It was windy and it was quite tricky out there. It is tough to beat someone who shoots a ten under. I kept trying and I’ve finished second way too many times.
“I finished by myself so that’s quite positive. I’m very happy with that.”
Did you know?
- Shubhankar dropped only three shots the entire week where he had one bogey in round one, two and three. He was flawless today.
- This is Shubhankar fourth start since winning at the Joburg Open in South Africa in December.
- His final round 62 is his joint lowest score on the Asian Tour in relation to par. He shot a 61 (par 71) in the second round of the Joburg Open and a 62 on the last day of the 2016 Resorts World Manila Masters.
- Sharma’s winning total of 21-under is the lowest winning score at the Maybank Championship. His two-shot victory equals the largest winning margin in the event. Marcus Fraser also won by two shots in the inaugural edition in 2016.
- He is the first Asian to win the Maybank Championship and second Asian Tour member after Fraser to clinch the title.
- The last time an Indian won in Malaysia was Anirban Lahiri in 2015. He went on to win the Order of Merit title in the same year.
- This is Sharma’s second Maybank Championship appearance. He finished tied ninth last year to seal his Asian Tour card.
- The victory will likely push Sharma to 70th place on the Official World Golf Ranking. He will potentially be the highest ranked Indian in the world.
- Shubhankar is one of the rising stars on the Asian Tour and he joins a list of young champions to emerge from the region’s premier Tour.
- Overnight co-leader Campillo will continue his search for a career’s first victory. He opened with an eagle before shooting one birdie against as many bogeys on his inward nine. He closed with two birdies to finish second on his own.
- Joshi is close friends and roommates with Joshi this week. He finished tied fifth to earn US$92,880 and has virtually secured his Asian Tour card for next season.
Scores after round 4 of the Maybank Championship being played at the par 72, 7135 Yards Saujana GCC course (am – denotes amateur):
267 – Shubhankar SHARMA (IND) 70-69-66-62.
269 – Jorge CAMPILLO (ESP) 69-66-66-68.
270 – Pablo LARRAZABAL (ESP) 70-70-64-66, Ryan FOX (NZL) 68-68-68-66.
272 – Nino BERTASIO (ITA) 68-65-70-69, Ryo ISHIKAWA (JPN) 74-66-63-69, Hideto TANIHARA (JPN) 71-64-68-69, Khalin JOSHI (IND) 67-70-65-70, Dylan FRITTELLI (RSA) 69-66-66-71.
273 – Berry HENSON (USA) 69-68-65-71.
274 – Matthieu PAVON (FRA) 70-67-70-67, Joost LUITEN (NED) 72-68-66-68, Maximilian KIEFFER (GER) 69-66-71-68, Romain WATTEL (FRA) 67-73-65-69, Lee WESTWOOD (ENG) 72-62-70-70, Paul PETERSON (USA) 69-70-65-70.
275 – Andy SULLIVAN (ENG) 71-66-71-67, David LIPSKY (USA) 67-68-71-69, Scott JAMIESON (SCO) 68-69-69-69, Benjamin HEBERT (FRA) 69-70-65-71, Mike LORENZO-VERA (FRA) 66-71-67-71, Phachara KHONGWATMAI (THA) 68-65-70-72.
276 – Daisuke KATAOKA (JPN) 68-67-72-69, Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA) 72-66-70-68, Thomas DETRY (BEL) 68-68-69-71, Shiv KAPUR (IND) 70-67-67-72.