During the last 15 years, 21-year-old Shubhankar Sharma has played at Wellington Gymkhana Golf Course, Black Elephant Army Golf Course, Patiala, Army Golf Course, Bhopal, and DLF Golf Club in Gurgaon. With his father Col Mohan Sharma posted in the Indian Army, Sharma had to move with his family and play at different courses. Fourteen months after Shubhankar made Chandigarh Golf club his home course, the Panchkula resident won his first title at home when he claimed the title in the Rs 1 crore TAKE Open Golf Championship at the club on Sunday. Sharma shot a final round score of five-under-67 to win his fifth title on the PGTI circuit and took home a prize money of Rs 15 lakh.
“I started playing in Wellington in 2002 where my father was posted and I went to Bhopal, Patiala and Gurgaon playing at various places. When we shifted to Panchkula last year, I could finally say that Chandigarh Golf Course is my home club. And today was a special feeling. Everything fell into place for me as I made a lot of birdies and my putter finally was in form in the last round. The 17th hole was very critical where I made the par after a bad tee shot. My driver and 3-wood worked well and I did not miss fairways this week,” said Sharma, who had become the youngest winner on PGTI circuit when he won the Kochi Masters in 2013 at the age of 17.
With father Col Mohan Sharma, mother Meena Sharma and sister Vandini Sharma following Shubhankar’s play through the day, Sharma returned with seven birdies and two bogeys during the round, which also included a 40-foot birdie on the 14th hole and 25-foot birdie on the last hole. Trailing by two shots after the third round, Shubhankar edged behind Patna’s Aman Raj to claim the title. The golfer, who has five top-five finishes on the Asian Tour, will not play on the PGTI tour rest of the year, featuring only in one tournament in India and will play in Macao Open in the coming week.
“I am not playing in many tournaments in India this year and I will be going to Macao tonight for the Macao open. I was not playing well on the Asian Tour in the last six months but last week’s 21st place finish in Yeangder TPC boosted my confidence. My ball striking was good this week and I hope to carry this momentum on the Asian Tour,” said Sharma, who trains under coaches Jesse Grewal and Gurbaz Mann.
Sharma’s four-year professional stint on the Asian Tour has also seen him earn $281,814 on the Asian Tour and the player is lying at 24th spot in the Asian Order of Merit. The youngster is also ranked number three on the birdies list on the Asian Tour and father Col Mohan Sharma too shared his joy on seeing Shubhankar winning a title on home soil.
“I had completed my tenure at NSG, Manesar, when we had to decide about supporting his career and help him or continue with my forward posting. We decided about helping his career and in 2012, I took early retirement from the Indian Army. He started playing with me at Wellington but took it seriously under coach Patel in Bhopal. When he won the national amateur championship in 2012 in Kolkata, we knew that it was right time to turn professional. And to see him win his fifth PGTI title in Chandigarh was a special feeling for all of us,” said the proud father. Chandigarh golfers Akshay Sharma and Karandeep Kochhar finished at third and joint fourth spot respectively.