Shubhankar bags Tour Championship, ends year on a high

Continuing his dream run, Shubhankar Sharma rallied to snatch the Rs 1.5 crore McLeod Russel Tour Championship 2017 on Sunday to sign off the season with three wins .

Shubhankar Sharma with the trophy in Kolkata on Sunday.   -  PTI

Shubhankar Sharma pipped Rashid Khan at the post to defeat the latter in a classic encounter at the PGTI’s year-end championship McLeod Russel Tour Championship at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC) on Sunday. Shubhankar, who was lying two shots behind Rashid on the overnight tally, snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the final round to make it a dream season, which saw him win three titles.

The 21-year-old golfer from Chandigarh, who recently became the youngest Indian to win a European Tour, prevailed over Delhi’s Rashid by one shot in a fantastic turnaround. Trailing by two shots till the 14th hole, he turned it around in the final stages to end up with a round of 68 and secure a winning score of 17-under 271.

With this win, he annexed his sixth professional trophy and the winner’s cheque of Rs. 22,50,000. Rashid, who could not sustain his consistency in the decisive round, carded 71 and finished with a total of 16-under 272.

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Shamim Khan of Delhi bagged his second PGTI Order of Merit title after finishing tied fourth at eight-under 280. Shamim, who had earlier won the title in 2012, closed the current season with earnings of Rs. 51,64,233 to finish number one in the money list by a fair distance.

Shubhankar (66-70-67-68) began the day two shots behind the leader Rashid (67-67-67-71) but caught up with the latter on the eighth hole thanks to three birdies including two tap-ins. Rashid then produced some fine shots by holing out from 150 yards for an eagle-two on the ninth to regain his two-shot lead. Khan was two ahead after the 14th and was looking good for his 10th title but Shubhankar then turned things around with an excellent bunker shot on the 15th that led to a birdie.

Rashid found the water on the 15th and the hole witnessed a two-shot swing in favour of Shubhankar that saw him on level terms with Rashid. Both players raised the contest by making birdies on the next hole but the 17th hole proved to be decisive as Khan’s poor chip shot resulted in a bogey that saw him fall back by one shot. Shubhankar finally converted a tricky 10-feet par putt on the last hole to clinch his second PGTI title of the season.

“I’ve been really calm on the course for the past one month and that has made a huge difference to my game. My special relationship with the RCGC continues as I previously won the All India Amateur here in 2013 and another PGTI event in 2016,” said Subhankar after winning the title.