August 08, 2018: The PGA Championship has been a happy hunting ground for Indian golfers. The two best major results have both come at the tournament – Jeev Milkha Singh finished T9 in the 2008 edition, with Anirban Lahiri eclipsing the effort with a T5 in 2015.
The 93rd ranked Indian will be in the field again this week, surpassing yet another marker laid down by the legendary Jeev. Anirban is set to play his 15th major going past Jeev’s mark of 14 major appearances.
As the rain soaked Bellerive Country Club hosts the 100th edition of the PGA Championship, Anirban and Shubhankar Sharma will hope to take the conversation beyond participation. The two young men have often shown their potential and if they can bring four good rounds in their bags, we could soon be discussing a major winner instead of celebrating major appearances.
Speaking of appearances, Arjun Atwal was the first Indian to play the PGA Championship. He did so when he qualified to the 2005 event on the back of his rookie season on the PGA TOUR.
Over a dozen years later, Shubhankar will be stepping into those shoes looking to consolidate his returns from a breakthrough season.
The Chandigarh man has taken Indian golf fans on a merry ride this season – winning twice on the European Tour, leading the Habitat for Humanity standings on the Asian Tour and some memorable performances on American soil.
The 21-year-old has taken the baton from Anirban, moving up the ranks to become the leading Indian golfer. He kept golf fans awake through the nights when he soared to the top of the leaderboard in the WGC Mexico Championship earlier this season.
Shubhankar’s spectacular effort on the back nine of the second round at Carnoustie will go down as one of the most compelling major performances by an Indian golfer.
With his back against the wall and neck under the knife, Shubhankar dug deep to produce four birdies on one of the most testing stretches in golf to secure his place for the weekend.
That was the first full major week for Shubhankar and should help him play at Bellerive with more freedom and confidence.
Anirban will spurred by his desire to drive back inside the top 50, aided by the memories of his best ever major finish for an Indian golfer. The 31-year-old made a run at Whistling Straits before settling for a T5.
Course management is going to be key this week and the slower greens should help Anirban and Shubhankar read the lines better. Buckle up and stay with us on what promises to be another stellar weekend for Indian golf.