PGTI: Shubhankar Sharma breaks course record

Shubhankar fired a bogey-free seven-under-65 to coast to a six-shot win over Anura Rohana, claiming his second professional title with the minimum of fuss.

Shubhankar Sharma with the trophy.   -  Shreedutta Chidananda

Shubhankar Sharma's last visit to the Eagleton Golf Resort, in October, had ended in heartbreak: a play-off defeat in the TAKE Solutions India Masters, and even that by the finest of margins.

This time around, he sealed victory in the PGTI Players' Championship long before the contest got anywhere near the final hole. Shubhankar fired a bogey-free seven-under-65 on Friday to coast to a six-shot win over Anura Rohana, claiming his second professional title with the minimum of fuss. His four-round total of 24-under-264 broke the course record, previously held by Mithun Perera (22-under-266 in 2014). Sujjan Singh (271) finished third, having leapfrogged Mukesh Kumar (272) in dramatic fashion with an eagle on the 17th.

"That loss four months ago only helped me," Shubhankar said. "I lost but I was proud of myself because I had made four birdies on the last four to take it to a play-off. That gave me confidence that I could play well on this course. That's why I could win this week."

The 19-year-old held a three-stroke lead overnight, and he quickly stretched his advantage in the morning, registering a hat-trick of birdies from holes two through four. Birdies on six and seven ensured Shubhankar was five-under at the turn. Rohana, his closest pursuer, had slipped five shots behind.

"I didn't think I had it in the bag at that stage; not at all," Shubhankar said later. "Five shots is nothing." He could breathe easy, though, after making a fine 10-foot putt to save par on the 14th. The Gurgaon-based golfer wrapped things up with a birdie on the final hole — his seventh of the day — before he was doused in beer. Shubhankar walked away with a cheque for Rs. 4.5 lakh, after his first triumph in two years.

S. Chikkarangappa, meanwhile, finished 14th, 14 shots behind the winner. Kanishk Sinha finished as the best amateur after tying for 41st at one-over-289.

The scores (top eight after final round):

264: Shubhankar Sharma (65, 70, 64, 65); 270: Anura Rohana (68, 68, 66, 68); 271: Sujjan Singh (68, 65, 70, 68); 272: Mukesh Kumar (64, 68, 71, 69); 273: Vikrant Chopra (73, 64, 68, 68); 275: Sanjeev Kumar (68, 71, 70, 66), Kapil Kumar (67, 67, 71, 70), Khalin Joshi (71, 68, 66, 70).