Carnoustie, 21 July 2018: On a beautiful Saturday at Angus, Shubhankar Sharma played some good golf, without the rewards to show for it. The Indian, who turned 22 today, played well off the tee, for the most part, making three birdies through a battling 71. He remained even for a second straight day, meaning that he will go to bed on Saturday at two over through 54 holes. He is currently in T55 with several of the front runners yet to tee off in the third round.
“I was hitting it good in the first six holes. I hit it pretty close. I was just hoping to make one more in the first six holes. The conditions were very good today. There was no wind at all compared to the first two days. I think I just didn’t make enough putts. It’s all part of the game,” concluded Shubhankar. “I am very happy with the way I finished. Could’ve been better if I made that birdie putt on the last but it’s alright. It’s pretty tough to read the greens. There are some very subtle slopes out there which are tough to see.”
Shubhankar began with a crisp tee shot at the first hole. The ball was firmly in the fairway and set up an easy par to begin his day. At the second he sailed to the left edge of the fairway and fired a brilliant approach to set up a short birdie. It looked like we could be set for a big day on the North Sea coast.
The pins were accessible, the steady breeze was more about comfort that any cause for concern to the golfers. It was a bright day under crisp blue skies and the stage was set for a spectacular round of golf.
But then as hard as he tried to play with steady hand and solid ambition, the putts would just not role. Shubhankar made six straight pars before courting some trouble at the ninth. His tee shot flew left but it stayed out of the bunkers in the light rough. The second stayed left and perched itself in a precariously inconvenient spot on the hazard.
Shubhankar did well to extract a good rescue but it traveled only so far as the edge of the green. The pin was to the back of the green and Shubhankar did well to find the cup in two strokes from there.
One bogey became two when he was between clubs on the second shot at the 10th. His approach ended up about 20 yards short of the green and a second bogey dropped him to over par for the day.
Undeterred by the double blow, Shubhankar regained the lost strokes with fine birdies at the par-5 14th and the par-4 15th holes. But trouble returned, when he opted to use the two iron at the 16th, where he found the left eye in the spectacle bunkers. He did well to extricate himself from the sand, but needed two putts, falling back to even par for the round.
“I have shot low rounds in the final round before. I think I just need to get the feel in my putting. If I can start dropping putts, I should be able to cap a low round,” said Shubhankar. “I just need that feel. Today I miss a few and lost a bit of confidence. This is the best birthday present for myself, playing in The Open and the weather was perfect today.”
Justin Rose and Yusaku Miyazato made the most of the benign conditions – shooting 64 and 65 respectively to make a massive leap up the order. Both men slipped inside the top twenty with their efforts on Saturday.