Mauritius Open: All eyes on Shubhankar Sharma

Shubhankar will be one among many Indians participating in the tourney to be held at the picturesque Heritage Golf Club from Thursday.

Shubhankar Sharma secured a seventh-place finish at the Turkish Airlines Open last month.   -  Getty Images

Shubhankar Sharma has rediscovered his touch after a prolonged lean phase, and will be among many Indians looking to impress at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open that starts here on Thursday.

A bogey-free 64 for a seventh-place finish at the Turkish Airlines Open last month bolstered his confidence, and the 23-year-old would look to continue in the same vein at the picturesque Heritage Golf Club here. Turkey was the year’s first top-10 result for Shubhankar, winner of two European Tour titles in the space of three months and one of the four Indians to have participated in The Masters.

“I am in decent form and hope to do well over the next few days,” Shubhankar said on his way to practise.

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Big names such as the seasoned Jeev Milkha Singh, Shiv Kapoor, S. S. P. Chawrasia, Jyoti Randhawa, Gaganjeet Bhullar, Rahil Gangjee, Khalin Joshi and Chiragh Kumar are among the other Indians competing in the European Tour, Asian Tour and Sunshine Tour event with a prize purse of EUR 100,000.

S. Chikkarangappa, Udayan Mane, Abhijit Singh Chadha, Karandeep Kochhar, Viraj Madappa, Aman Raj and Aadil Bedi will also be in action.

Competitive field

The field will be competitive. South Africa’s four-time European Tour winner George Coetzee — the winner of this event in 2015 — will be participating, as will, among others, France’s Benjamin Hebert, Romain Langasque, Gregory Havret and Raphael Jacquelin and Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts and Thomas Pieters.

Scotland’s Paul Lawrie, winner of The Open in 1999 and member of the European Ryder Cup team in 1999 and 2012, and vice-captain of the European Ryder Cup team in 2016, and Italy’s Edoardo Molinari, a three-time winner on the European Tour, will also be in the fray.

“Lots of good memories from the first year here. I remember playing the 18th hole a couple more times than I wanted to, but it was a good week. It was nice to win a tournament outside of South Africa, and it was just a special week for me,” Coetzee said at a press conference.