Portrush, 19 July 2019: The rewards of a patient round of golf can often confound the most experienced golfer. As Shubhankar Sharma sits down for lunch today, he will wonder what he may have done better on a day when putts rolled short, tee shots longer than desired and the score higher than it ought to have been.
As it is, while the weekend seems secure, Shubhankar has reason to be disappointed with his card of one-over 72 on Friday. At even par, he is lying T51 and with the forecast for the afternoon suggesting some wet weather, he will get on the range in earnest to improve his mood for the morning.
Shubhankar started the second round with a bogey at the very first hole. But he made birdie on the par-5 second to make amends immediately. Another missed putt cost him a stroke at the fourth, but he collected back to back birdies at the 6th and 7th to address the losses.
He was two under through 27 holes as he made the turn, taking 35 strokes on Friday. Shubhankar continued to struggle on the greens, but it was the sand that cost him dear on the 12th hole. He needed two to extricate himself from the right fairway bunker on the par-5 12th hole.
The par putt from just over 20 feet was struck with precision but the ball stopped inches short, forcing Shubhankar to tap in for bogey. He also made bogey at the 14th to account for a 72.
“The score does not reflect the quality of my golf today. I played pretty good,” assured Shubhankar. “Obviously, one over par wasn’t what I was looking for, but plenty of positives to take forward. I am hoping to have a good weekend.”
“I wasn’t really happy with the way I was rolling my putts today,” explained Shubhankar. “I know it is just a minor adjustment. I was a bit tentative on the greens today, that cost me a few strokes on the back nine.”
At even par, Shubhankar is in the same neighbourhood as one of his playing partners, the 2010 champion Louis Oosthuizen. The other man in the group was keeping the galleries buzzing, doing just enough to remain in the conversation going into another major weekend.
Brooks Koepka added a 69 to his first round 68 to move up to 5-under through 36 holes, good enough for a spot inside the top ten.
He is trailing J. B. Holmes, the leader at 8-under through 15 holes on Friday. Tommy Fleetwood brought his card home with a 67 on it, enough for T2 at 7-under, with a fine birdie at the 18th hole.
Shane Lowry took off from where he left it yesterday. He made three straight birdies, moving to 7-under through three holes.
Justin Harding shot a 65 to make a big move. He is tied in fourth with Cameron Smith who made 66. Justin Rose was also keeping them company, firing an eagle on the par-5 12th to join them at 6-under. Rose has four holes to play in his second round.