Shubhankar Sharma on Monday emerged as the best Indian golfer in the world, grabbing the 72nd position in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) after his recent title triumph at Maybank Championship. Sharma has enjoyed a golden run over the past few months on the international stage, clinching his first European Tour win at the Joburg Open in December last year.
He had entered the event in South Africa ranked 462 in the world and his victory soon catapulted him to 226. The win in Kuala Lumpur yesterday elevated Sharma from 193 to 72, a gain of 121 spots.
Sharma, who stays in Chandigarh and has his roots in Jammu, has broken into the top-100 for the first time in his career and also emerged as the highest ranked Indian in the world surpassing PGA Tour regular Anirban Lahiri, who is currently placed 76th in the OWGR.
The 21-year-old Indian now also has the rare distinction of leading both the European Tour Race to Dubai and the Asian Tour Order of Merit.
His latest success also helped him join the exclusive club of Indians who have achieved two wins in the same European Tour season, the others being Jeev Milkha Singh (2006) and Anirban Lahiri (2015).
The race to represent India at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics just got a lot more intense as there are now five Indians in the top-200 of the world.
With two and a half years still to go to the next Olympics, an interesting contest might ensue for the two berths on the Indian team as the likes of Sharma (72), Lahiri (76), Gaganjeet Bhullar (155), Shiv Kapur (192), Ajeetesh Sandhu (199) and SSP Chawrasia (226), are all in the fray at the moment.