Sharma seeking home comforts
After the most exciting week of his golfing life Shubhankar Sharma is flying halfway round the world in his quest to win the Hero Indian Open at his home course.
The 21-year-old thrilled audiences across the globe with his performance at last week's WGC-Mexico Championship, but on the final day he was overtaken by a surging field and finished tied ninth.
Playing in the final group with eventual winner Phil Mickelson granted him the best seat in the house as the American swept to a first success in four years.
"My first time in Mexico, my first World Golf Championship and I'm really happy," he said afterwards. "A little bit disappointed that I was leading and couldn't finish it off, but that's what the game is about and what I learned, especially playing with Phil, I'll cherish it forever."
Last November, Sharma failed to win a full European Tour card at Qualifying School, but victories in the Joburg Open and Maybank Championship have transformed his career.
"If you would have asked me four months ago that I would be playing with Phil at a WGC on the last day, I would have just laughed," he added. "Just playing with him was fantastic.
"He's obviously a great man and showed me a few great shots. He's not afraid to go out there and hit it at the pin, and he took some crazy clubs off the tee but that's what Phil is all about. I'll never forget it. Especially on 16 where he made birdie, it was the loudest roar I ever heard in life. It was fantastic."
Making his fourth appearance in the Indian Open, Sharma knows he will be the focus of attention all week as he seeks to complete a first top-10 finish in the tournament. His journey there will be a long one, via New York and Europe to Delhi, but the host, DLF Golf & Country Club, is his golfing back garden.
"I'm looking forward to it," he said. "I'm playing well. It's a very long flight back home to India, but I should be fine when I get to Delhi. I know the course pretty well."
Sharma is 11/1 to win the tournament outright and 12/5 to end the week as the Top Indian.
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