Shubhankar feeling relaxed on home soil

Shubhankar Sharma believes he is in a good place to claim a dream win at his home open at this week at the Hero Indian Open.

Shubhankar Sharma aims to bring back the title home at Hero Indian Open

28 March, 2019: Shubhankar Sharma is hopeful that going under the radar can help him the lift the trophy on home soil this week at the Hero Indian Open.

Rewind 12 months and the local hero was riding a wave as arguably the hottest name in golf having claimed his first two European titles in quick succession and finished in the top ten in his maiden World Golf Championships event in Mexico.

After leaving New Delhi he flew back west for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and then made his Major Championship debut at the Masters Tournament having been handed a special invitation to tee it up at Augusta National.

With all that going on, he could have been forgiven for being tired at DLF Golf and Country Cub but he equalled the course record in round two en route to a top ten finish.

He is still a huge attraction at his home course but with the spotlight not shining quite so brightly upon him, Sharma believes he is in a good place to claim a dream win at his home open.

I am a lot more relaxed this time around and more focused so this year will be different – Shubhankar Sharma

“This was my home course for the longest time and it feels great to be back on familiar grounds and I stay very close to the golf course so all my family is here to watch me,” he said.

“Obviously last year a lot of things were happening. I flew in straight from Mexico and then right after I flew to the Masters. So I had to deal with jetlag and amidst all that I was still able to shoot the course record and do pretty well.

“I am a lot more relaxed this time around and more focused so this year will be different.

“I am obviously a lot more mature this year and really enjoying my game. I just want to get back into the groove again of playing at my best again.

“It would mean the world to me, the Indian open is very special to us Indians, especially to win on a course that has supported me in my career.

“To join the past Indian winners that I have idolised since I was young has always been my goal. Hopefully everything goes well this week and we’ll see what happens.”

One man who has tasted victory in this event is Anirban Lahiri, who won it in 2015 when it joined the Race to Dubai, having been first staged in 1964.

S S P Chawrasia won it in the next two seasons before Matt Wallace broke the home dominance last term, but two time European Tour winner Lahiri is confident he can challenge to bring the title home if he can stay relaxed over the weekend.

“It’s always wonderful to be back home, having marsala for breakfast,” he said. “I’ve just missed this. Every time I come back, I have happy memories, having played well in this tournament for a number of years.

“My game has been a bit inconsistent but it is moving in the right direction. I’ve had a couple of bad weekends but I have managed to single out the problems which need to be fixed and I just need to pull it together and stay focused.

“I need to clean up my process on the weekend rounds. The problem with me is I always try too hard and lose my rhythm in that process.

“Flying in straight from the US and having travelled so much the past few weeks my main focus is to keep my head in the right place.”

Source: European Tour