Kenya Open: Rested and fresh Sharma shoots bogey-free 65, lies T-2nd

Sharma, who finished second at the Rolex Series Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, had three birdies on either side of the Muthaiga Golf Club on the DP World Tour.

The 25-year-old, who was tied for second with American Johannes Veerman, was one shot behind sole leader Daniel Gavins of England, who had nine birdies against two bogeys.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Indian golfer Shubhankar Sharma got off to a flying start with a bogey-free 6-under 65 to be tied-2nd after the opening round of the Magical Kenya Open here.

Sharma, who finished second at the Rolex Series Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, had three birdies on either side of the Muthaiga Golf Club on the DP World Tour.

The 25-year-old, who was tied for second with American Johannes Veerman, was one shot behind sole leader Daniel Gavins of England, who had nine birdies against two bogeys.

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Sharma chipped in at the first for a birdie and made three in a row from the eighth before hitting a beautiful shot to seven feet from the rough at the 14th. His tee-shot on the 18th was not ideal but he got up and down from a greenside bunker for a sixth birdie of the day and a share of second.

Sharma, playing alongside Justin Harding and Adrian Meronk, was thrilled with his start and said that being bogey free was an added bonus.

“I am really happy, I played really well, didn’t drop a shot which was bonus. I made some good par putts and to make that birdie on the 18th was especially satisfying," Sharma said.

“I’ve changed a lot with my thinking from two years ago. Two years ago I was younger and wanted to play everything. I would play seven weeks in a row if I could.

“Now, if I’m playing well I understand that I need to conserve my energy. I don’t feel like I want to stay on the road all the time so a few weeks and going home really helps," he added.

Taking time off between a series of events and re-energising himself during the season has been Sharma’s new game plan apart from working on his golf.

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"I’m refreshed this week, I’ve had a few weeks off and you can see that in the first round, it’s been a good day." Sharma added that relying on his strengths helped him navigate the openeing round.

“It (course) offers you a lot of risk and reward holes, a lot of holes where you can take driver on and probably have a wedge in."

 Gavins, was over par after five holes but he made six birdies in seven holes from the 16th and added two more for a 64 that left him at seven under. Right behind him were Sharma and Veerman, who in turn were chased by Scot Ewen Ferguson and England's Lee Slattery.

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