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Shubhankar Sharma bags third title of the year at 15th TATA Open 2016

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Jamshedpur, Dec. 18: Panchkula’s Shubhankar Sharma bagged his third title of the year in style with a one-shot victory at the 15th TATA Open 2016 played at the Golmuri Golf Course in Jamshedpur.

The 20-year-old posted a tenacious four-under-67 in the final round on Sunday to end up with a total score of 20-under-264 at the Rs. 75 lakh event. Delhi’s Rashid Khan fired a last round of six-under-65 to earn the runners-up position at 19-under-265.

Shubhankar, who took the winner’s cheque worth Rs. 11,25,000, thus moved up from fourth to first in the Rolex Ranking. After the penultimate event of the year, Shubhankar’s season earnings now stand at Rs. 36,50,348 giving him a lead of more than Rs. 2.5 lakh over his nearest rival Shamim Khan of Delhi in the Rolex Ranking. Shamim finished tied third at Golmuri along with Bangladesh’s Md Zamal Hossain Mollah at 16-under-268.

Shubhankar Sharma (64-63-70-67), the overnight leader by two shots, had a nervous start to the final round as he missed a chip-putt to bogey the opening hole. However, he got his round back on track with birdies on the second and fourth, making a tough up and down from the bunker on the latter.

Shubhankar never really looked in trouble thereafter as he went on to make three more birdies on the seventh, 12th and 13th largely thanks to some quality chip-putts. He finally nailed a two-footer for par on the closing 18th for a well-deserved victory.

Shubhankar said, “This win is quite satisfying as I feel I wasn’t at my best in the last two rounds. I wasn’t hitting it well at the range this morning. So that was at the back of my mind when I started my round. I then had a nervy start with a bogey on the first and then hit the pole with my tee shot on the third due to which I had to take a re-shot.

“But then things started falling in place and I managed my final round really well. I made some crucial two-putts through the day as my speed control was outstanding.

“I must admit that I wasn’t comfortable till the end as Rashid challenged me till the finish. This win is a huge morale-booster for my pursuit of the Rolex Player of the Year title.

“I relished the experience of playing at the Golmuri Golf Course this week. The layout is great and the course provides a tough challenge even to the professionals. It’s definitely one of the leading championship courses in the eastern region of the country.”

Rashid Khan (69-65-66-65) shot a valiant 65 punctuated by seven birdies and a bogey to end up in second place. He threatened to take the match into a playoff by getting within one shot of Shubhankar but it was not to be as the latter closed out the match with a par on the 18th. Rashid thus moved up from sixth to fourth place in the Rolex Ranking.

Shamim Khan (66) finished tied third at 16-under-268 along with Md Zamal Hossain Mollah (69). Shamim, as a result, conceded his lead in the Rolex Ranking and slipped to second place with season’s earnings of Rs. 33,96,458.

The three players bunched in joint fifth at 15-under-269 were Chandigarh’s Abhijit Singh Chadha, Bengaluru’s Khalin Joshi and Samarth Dwivedi of Greater Noida. Khalin slipped from second to third place in the Rolex Ranking.

Final scores after Round 4 (72 holes):

264: Shubhankar Sharma (64-63-70-67)
265: Rashid Khan (69-65-66-65)
268: Shamim Khan (68-68-66-66), Md Zamal Hossain Mollah (67-63-69-69)

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