04 February, 2018: A red-hot Shubhankar Sharma marches to victory at the Saujana Golf & Country Club. He fired 10 birdies for a remarkable 10-under-par 62 to claim a stunning two-shot victory at the US$3 million Maybank Championship on Sunday.
At the age of 21, the talented Indian overcame a four-shot deficit with a dominant display to clinch his second Asian Tour and European Tour title with a winning total of 21-under-par 267 in windy conditions at the Saujana Golf and Country Club.
In his fourth start since winning the Joburg Open in South Africa in December, Sharma produced a sensational final round where he made five birdies in each half which included clutch birdie putts on 17 and 18.
He defeated co-overnight leader Jorge Campillo of Spain, who eagled the opening hole before returning with a 68 to settle for second place, while Pablo Larrazabal and Ryan Fox of New Zealand finished in third place after posting identical 66s.
Khalin Joshi of India, who is Sharma’s roommate this week, finished in a share of fifth place alongside Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa, Hideto Tanihara, Nino Bertasio and world number 47 Dylan Frittelli of South Africa.
Sharma produced a great comeback after struggling in the opening two rounds where he was tied in 48th place at the halfway stage. A third round 66 put him within four shots of the lead and he charged into contention on the final round when he got off to a hot front nine.
He marked his card with further birdies on 11, 13 and 14 which gave him a two-shot advantage on the 16th hole as he romped to victory in emphatic style to become the first Asian to win the third edition of the Maybank Championship.
The victory earned him US$500,000 and moved him to the top of the Asian Tour’s Habitat for Humanity Standings and on the Race to Dubai on the European Tour.
Did you know?
- Sharma dropped only three shots the entire week where he had one bogey in round one, two and three. He was flawless today.
- This is Sharma’s fourth start since winning at the Joburg Open in South Africa in December.
- His final round 62 is his joint lowest score on the Asian Tour in relation to par. He shot a 61 (par 71) in the second round of the Joburg Open and a 62 on the last day of the 2016 Resorts World Manila Masters.
- Sharma’s winning total of 21-under is the lowest winning score at the Maybank Championship. His two-shot victory equals the largest winning margin in the event. Marcus Fraser also won by two shots in the inaugural edition in 2016.
- He is the first Asian to win the Maybank Championship and second Asian Tour member after Fraser to clinch the title.
- The last time an Indian won in Malaysia was Anirban Lahiri in 2015. He went on to win the Order of Merit title in the same year.
- This is Sharma’s second Maybank Championship appearance. He finished tied ninth last year to seal his Asian Tour card.
- The victory will likely push Sharma to 70th place on the Official World Golf Ranking. He will potentially be the highest ranked Indian in the world.
- Sharma is one of the rising stars on the Asian Tour and he joins a list of young champions to emerge from the region’s premier Tour.
- Overnight co-leader Campillo will continue his search for a career’s first victory. He opened with an eagle before shooting one birdie against as many bogeys on his inward nine. He closed with two birdies to finish second on his own.
- Joshi is close friends and roommates with Shubhankar this week. He finished tied fifth to earn US$92,880 and has virtually secured his Asian Tour card for next season.