March 09, 2018: The DLF Golf & Country Club prides itself on the challenge posed by its Gary Player designed course. Shubhankar Sharma, in the form of his life, produced a mind-numbing effort on Friday to break the course record while making it look like a walk in the park. He inched within four strokes of Emiliano Grillo (-11), to set up a mouth-watering weekend in the Hero Indian Open. Shubhankar’s 64 consisted nine birdies – three on the forward stretch and an amazing six of them on the difficult path to the clubhouse.
Khalin Joshi, apparently excited by the success of his friend, played well for the second day running. He followed through an even 72 in the first round with a well managed 68 on Friday to plant himself inside the top ten.
Anirban Lahiri has been striking the ball well in recent weeks. The man from Bengaluru continued in the same vein, only without the score to show for it.
“It is very frustrating,” said Anirban. “I did not play that bad, perhaps the judgment could have been better. The 17th kind of knocked the wind out of sails. After the turn, I played well at the first, three-putted the second. Pretty much one step forward, two backward has been the story these past two days.
Fresh off his attention snatching run in WGC Mexico, where he lead through 54 holes before finishing T9 – Shubhankar has made a brilliant turnaround since being five over through his first nine holes in Gurugram. He is twelve under through 27 holes, with 13 birdies and a lone bogey.
“I was thinking about the course record,” admitted a confident Shubhankar, when asked about his decision to attack the flag on the 18th. “I swung it hard knowing that it is an easy up and down from there. I made a nice ten footer to seal the birdie and the record.”
Standing on the fairway, looking down on the lake and green, the 21-year-old picked up a three wood and took a big heave. The ball bounced on the green and rolled up into the rough. Shubhankar chipped in from there, putting just enough pace to leave himself a chance at birdie. He made it promptly to secure the lowest ever round at the course.
“This is my home course and we have played many rounds of golf here. The local knowledge of the breaks on the green do help, but it is easier said than done. I think I played awesome, wasn’t the best of starts yesterday. I am happy with the way I fought back and kept the momentum with me today.”
On Saturday, Shubhankar will play in the final group, likely in the company of Emiliano Grillo and Pablo Larrazabal.