Lahiri, Shubhankar in Texas Open on PGA Tour

Lahiri has now been a regular on PGA Tour for three seasons but is still searching for his breakthrough win, though he has come close, a few times, including tied 2nd at Memorial, in 2017.

Shubhankar Sharma makes the second start in Texas — he played on an invite at the Houston Open.   -  AFP

Proven performer Anirban Lahiri and rising star Shubhankar Sharma will feature in the same PGA Tour event, for the first time, when they tee off at the Valero Texas Open, this week.

Lahiri has now been a regular on the PGA Tour for three seasons but is still searching for his breakthrough win, though he has come close, a few times, including tied 2nd at Memorial, in 2017. Meanwhile, Shubhankar makes the second start in Texas — he played on an invite at the Houston Open.

He also played at the Masters on an invite, but on both occasions, he missed the cut. Shubhankar hit the global spotlight, by leading after three rounds at the WGC-Mexico, in his first PGA Tour event, and ended ninth. At the WGC Matchplay, he lost all the three matches.

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Yet, as Lahiri tries to find his form back, Shubhankar will hope to create a place on the PGA Tour. Lahiri has been paired with JB Holmes and Whee Kim, and tees off from the 10th hole, while Shubhankar will have the company of two young stars, Xinjun Zhang, the first player from China — along with Marty Dou - to secure a PGA Tour card.

He came through to the PGA, through PGA Tour China and Web.com, and finished tied 5th at the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Champs.

German Stephan Jaeger, who has three wins on Web.com Tour, came to PGA through Web.com, and two of his wins came in 2017. So, Shubhankar will have plenty to get inspired from.

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The Texas Hill Country and TPC San Antonio (AT&T Oaks) take center stage, this week, for the Valero Texas Open, where Kevin Chappell will defend a PGA title for the first time, as the Valero is the third of five tournaments in Texas.

Jimmy Walker, Jhonattan Vegas and Sergio Garcia (a part-time resident of Austin) will also get a lot of attention. A Chilean, former No. 1-ranked amateur Joaquin Niemann will be in the news as well. The Valero marks his professional debut.

Si Woo Kim, who will defend his title at the Championship, in May, comes in hot after a playoff loss at the RBC Heritage, last week.

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However, Garcia, who co-designed TPC San Antonio, with Greg Norman, will get most of the attention. He hasn’t played the Valero since its first year at AT&T Oaks, in 2010. He is coming off a wild Masters defence, which included a record 13 at the 15th hole.

The AT&T Oaks Course is a 7,435-yard, par-72, which rewards exceptionally solid tee-to-green players, and those, like Chappell, who thrive on hard courses.