Sharma scores bogey-free 64; finishes seventh to qualify for South Africa

Amanpreet Singh

Antalya (Turkey), Nov 10 (PTI) Indian golfer Shubhankar Sharma fired a bogey-free eight-under 64 on the final day of the crucial Turkish Airlines Open to savour a season-best Tied-7th, his first top-10 result in a year.

Sharma, who shot 71-64-71-64 for 18-under 270, had 26 birdies, the second highest in the field, besides an eagle.

His 64 on the second and the final day were his best scoring rounds of the year and it also earned him a ticket to South Africa for the second of the Three-event Final series on the European Tour's Race to Dubai.

Sharma missed two birdie chances in the first three holes and was then on fire after a 35-yard chip-in for an eagle from the edge of the fourth hole. Thereafter the 23-year-old Sharma soared with six more birdies for a second bogey free eight-under 64 and finished at 18-under.

Tyrell Hatton who has been winless since winning Dunhill Links and Italian Open in back-to-back weeks wins in 2017, won the title after an extended play-off that began with six players and ended after four extra holes and under floodlights.

Sharma, by his own admission was having a 'poor season' till some weeks back, as he was 113th on the Race to Dubai before the Italian Open.

He needed to get into a list of Top-70 available players and he began his journey with a Tied-7thplace, which was his first Top-10 since Hong Kong last year.

He got to 81st and with some players skipping the event, Sharma was in for Turkey.

'That was my first goal,' he said. 'Around the Italian my goal was just to get to the Final Three with Turkey first. The Top-10 (seventh) in Italy and two other decent finishes in France and Portugal just about got me to Turkey. My next goal was to get into next week (South Africa) and now I want to do well to get Top-50 and Dubai,” said Sharma Sharma did not want to look at the dropped shots between fifth and seventh in the first and third rounds with regret.

'No I can’t look back and regret those. Maybe that fired me up on second day, maybe that pushed me today. When I was four-over after seven yesterday (Round 3) and down to five-under and in the 40s, Dean said, there’s still more than 27 holes to go,' said Sharma, appreciating his bagman's positivity.

As for the final day, he admitted, “I was very angry at myself for having played like yesterday. Today after missing those make-able putts on first and third, I needed something because those first few are scoring holes. That chip-in from 35 yards was what I need to get myself going.” Sharma negiotiated the stretch from fifth to seventh without mishaps. He even had a birdie chance on sixth. Then from the eighth he was a on a roll. He drove well, hit his irons beautifully and putted well. He birdied four in a row from eighth to 11th and added two more on 16th and 18th.

The next stop is Sun City and hopefully Dubai from there. PTI Corr ATAT