Golfer Shubhankar wins Maybank Championship


Kuala Lumpur Feb 4: Shubhankar Sharma, who has been the toast of Indian golf in recent times, continued his meteoric rise in the world of international golf by achieving his second European Tour and Asian Tour win within a span of just two months.

The 21-year-old, who had won the European Tour’s Joburg Open in the second week of December last year, also added the Maybank Championship title to his trophy cabinet on Sunday after smashing a sensational and error-free 10-under-62 in the final round at the Saujana Golf and Country Club here.

Sharma (70-69-66-62), who rose 18 places on the leaderboard in the fourth and final round to wrest the title, totalled an astonishing 21-under-267 for the week, thus enjoying a two-shot victory margin over Spaniard Jorge Campillo at the US$ 3 million event.

Sharma’s sublime effort on the final day in Kuala Lumpur helped him pick up a handsome pay cheque of US$ 500,000, the biggest of his fledgling career so far. He thus took the lead in both the European Tour Race to Dubai (748.074 Race to Dubai points) and the Asian Tour Order of Merit.

Sharma’s second win of the current European Tour season is also likely to help him break into the top 100 in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) when the updated list is released on Monday. He is currently ranked 193rd in the world.

Sharma’s success in Malaysia evoked memories of his Joburg Open triumph since he shot rounds of 10-under in both events and also amassed totals lower than 20-under on both occasions. However, Sunday’s victory has to be all the more special as he trailed by four shots going into the final round whereas in South Africa he was five ahead after the penultimate round.

Sharma, who won his first professional title on the PGTI at the age of 17 back in 2014, came up with a dominant display in windy conditions in Kuala Lumpur. The Chandigarh-based professional made five birdies in each half on Sunday which included clutch birdie putts on 17 and 18.

Sharma produced a great comeback after struggling in the opening two rounds where he was tied in 48th place at the halfway stage. A third round 66 put him within four shots of the lead and he charged into contention in the final round when he got off to a hot front nine.