Nov 26, 2017: Throughout this season, Shubhankar Sharma displayed a maturity beyond his tender years. More often than not, he played with a sense of purpose and he did not let the exuberance of youth to cloud his judgment.
Most importantly, the 22-year-old Indian star has always managed to find that extra gear when it really mattered.
Last week, Sharma notched yet another top-10 finish in a lucrative event to extend his lead on the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings.
The 22-year-old carded four consistently brilliant rounds at the US$2 million Honma Hong Kong Open presented by Amundi to finish in tied-sixth. With that, he took home a prize cheque of US$60,000.
He is now over US$190,000 ahead of his closest competitor, Sanghyun Park of Korea. While he is pleased with his dominant position on the money list, Sharma is not going to be complacent going into the final stretch of the season.
He said: “It’s obviously great to be able to extend my lead on the Habitat for Humanity standing, but again, as I said, it’s not over until it’s over. So, we have to wait until we finish.”
Indeed, with three big tournaments coming up in the next two weeks, the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings may have a huge shake-up before Sharma returns to action in December, fine-tuned and ready for the season-ending Indonesian Masters.
“I’m going to give the Mauritius Open and South Africa Open a miss to get some rest but I’ll definitely go back home, rest and just work on the things that I have to work on. Hopefully, everything is set for Jakarta,” he explained.
Justin Harding of South Africa
Like Sharma, Justin Harding of South Africa has also gained ground on the merit standings. He ascended from sixth to third after a commendable tied-14th finish in Hong Kong.
Jake Higginbottom of Australia and Lauren Micah Shin of the United States are the biggest movers. From 68th and 71st, they are now in 42nd and 43rd respectively after their tied-ninth finish. For Higginbottom in particular, he has virtually secured a Tour card for next season. Shin has a two-year exemption upon his victory at the 2017 Resorts World Manila Masters.
This week, the Asian Tour will be heading to the €1 million AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open and the US $500,000 Queen’s Cup hosted by Jaidee Foundation, where South Africa’s Dylan Frittelli and Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond will be defending their titles respectively.