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Kochi, 12 Apr 2014

Shubhankar Sharma claims maiden title with day’s best score of 32

At 17 becomes youngest winner on PGTI, leads Super Series points table

Shubhankar Sharma of Gurgaon claimed his maiden title in style after posting a four-under-32 in the final round of the PGTI Cochin Masters presented by CIAL Golf and Country Club. Shubhankar, who totaled nine-under-135 for the tournament, became the youngest winner on the PGTI at the age of 17. Delhi's Rashid Khan and Sanjay Kumar of Lucknow finished as the joint runners-up at seven-under-137 at the Rs. 50 lakh PGTI Super Series event.

Shubhankar Sharma (33-37-33-32), who was two off the lead in tied second place after round three, posted the joint best score of the final round to upstage all the other title contenders. Shubhankar, playing his second season as a professional, picked up his first stroke of the day with a 10-feet conversion on the 14th. He was unlucky to miss a birdie from seven feet on the 15th but more than made up for it with an eagle on the par-5 16th where he found the green in two and sank an eight-footer. 

Sharma, who recently gave his 12th board exams, didn’t seem to feel the pressure in the later stages as he knocked in a tricky six feet par putt on the 17th to hold on to his lead. A conversion from eight feet on the closing 18th helped him seal the title.

Shubhankar took home the winner’s purse of Rs. 8,08,250 at the second PGTI Super Series event of the season to climb from 23rd place to fourth position on the Rolex Rankings. Sharma earned 1035 points from his win that also catapulted him from ninth place to first position on the PGTI Super Series points table. He now has a tally of 1115 Super Series points. Anirban Lahiri, the winner of the season’s first Super Series event, is second with a total of 968.5 points.

Shubhankar also became the youngest winner on the PGTI at 17 years and ninth months. The previous youngest winner was Chikkarangappa who won at the age of 20 years and two months in November 2013.

“I’m thrilled with my first win. Winning a title was one of my goals for the season. It’s great to have a title under my belt so early in my professional career. This will help me play more freely now and give me a lot of self-belief. I’ve had two top-10s this year prior to this event and my game was looking good. I worked on my putting lately and this week I putted my best ever. I dropped only one bogey in the whole tournament,” said Shubhankar, who hails from the DLF Golf & Country Club in Gurgaon.

He added, “I never really looked at the leaderboard today and just treated it like any other round. The eagle on the 16th and par on the 17th were the key moments for me. I would like to thank my parents for always supporting me and my coach Jesse Grewal for his guidance.”

Sanjay Kumar (33-35-33-36), the overnight joint leader, slipped to tied second after an even-par-36 on Saturday that featured a birdie and a bogey. He climbed from 43rd place to ninth position on the Rolex Rankings.

Rashid Khan (32-35-34-36), the other overnight joint leader, also closed the tournament in tied second with a 36 in round four that included two birdies and two bogeys. Rashid almost holed it from 100 yards out for an eagle on the 18th but finally had to settle for a birdie. He moved up from eighth to fifth on the Rolex Rankings.

Kapil Kumar of Delhi bagged fourth place at six-under-138.

Sri Lankans Mithun Perera and K Prabagaran were a further shot behind in tied fifth place. 

Chandigarh’s Abhijit Singh Chadha, who had the joint best round of the day, a four-under-32, shared seventh place along with Delhi’s Manav Jaini at four-under-140.

Anirban Lahiri was tied 12th at two-under-142. He returned a 34 on Friday.

Local amateur Alexander K J was placed 116th with a score of 48-over. Joseph Joseph, the other local amateur, withdrew in the final round.


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