India’s Shubhankar Sharma continued to light up the European stage as his final round of 62 secured him his second victory of the season. By Matt Cradock.
21-Year-Old Sharma Shoots 62 To Win Again
Sharma started the final round trailing leaders Jorge Campillo of Spain and South Africa’s Dylan Frittelli, but hit a flawless 62 including 10 birdies to win by two.
The start of the round saw Campillo and Fritelli leading on 15-under-par, four shots ahead of December’s Joburg Open champion.
However, the four shot cushion was drastically reduced by Sharma as he birdied five holes on the front nine to turn in 31, to be just one shot adrift.
He would then birdie the 11th, 13th and 14th to take the lead in the tightly fought contest.
The Indian then began to pull away from the field as he continued his red-hot form with closing birdies on the 17th and 18th.
As a result of his victory, the 21-year-old is now top of the Race to Dubai standings and has leapt from 193rd to 72nd in the world. He was ranked 462nd at the start of December.
Sharma also qualifies for next month’s WGC-Mexico Championship as well as The Open at Carnoustie.
Bizarrely though, in November Sharma was only left with conditional status after he finished 69th after six rounds at the European Tour Q-school in Spain.
He wasn’t set to travel to South Africa but decided to in a move that would change his career.
Less than two months on and Sharma has become one of the hottest prospects in world golf claiming two European Tour wins.
Speaking on his final round Sharma said: “I played pretty solid and it wasn’t easy because it was windy. I kept pushing the whole day.
“I knew I had to make a lot of birdies to catch the leaders. I made a lot of birdies on the front nine and just continued on the back.
Highlights from Sharma’s round:
“I wanted to set a target in my mind and try to achieve it. On the 13th I knew I was somewhere near the leaders but on 16 I knew I had a two-shot lead. I told myself ‘if I can make two more birdies, that would give me a good chance to win’.”
Elsewhere, there was a return in form for England’s Lee Westwood who finished just outside the top 10.
The Englishman’s last win came in 2014 at the Maybank Championship and Westwood was in contention after two rounds after a 62 on Friday.
However, two consecutive rounds of 70 dented the 44-year-old’s title chances as he finished seven shots a drift of eventual winner Sharma.
There was also a notable performance from New Zealand’s Ryan Fox who produced his best finish on the European Tour finishing tied third.
The 31-year-old had a brilliant week, which included the first albatross of the 2018 European Tour season on the 534-yard first hole.
Speaking on his final round Fox said: “It was really solid, not quite as good as I started yesterday but I gave myself a bunch of chances and closed well but Shubhankar played some amazing golf out there to shoot 10 [under] and that’s pretty hard to catch.”
The third place finish now moves the New Zealander to a career high 95th in the World Rankings.
Maybank Championship 2018 Leaderboard:
1 Shubhankar Sharma (India) -21 70 69 66 62 267 €400,930
2 Jorge Campillo (Spain) -19 69 66 66 68 269 €267, 284
T3 Ryan Fox (New Zealand) -18 68 68 68 66 270 €135, 434
T3 Pablo Larrazabal (Spain) -18 70 70 64 66 270 €135, 434
T5 Nino Bertasio (Italy) -16 68 65 70 69 272 €74, 477
T5 Dylan Frittelli (South Africa) -16 69 66 66 71 272 €74, 477
T5 Ryo Ishikawa (Japan) -16 74 66 63 69 272 €74, 477
T5 Khalin Joshi (India) -16 67 70 65 70 272 €74, 477
T5 Hideto Tanihara (Japan) -16 71 64 68 69 272 €74, 477
* Note: Player score in italics signifies Titleist ball usage
Follow Golf Monthly on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.