Shubhankar best Indian in Singapore; Marksaeng wins title

Young Shubhankar Sharma finished an impressive tied 11th at the season-opening SMBC Singapore Open golf tournament to witness a fine start to the 2017 season.

Golfer Shubhankar Sharma

Shubhankar Sharma finished at five-under 279 and came within a whisker of a top 10 finish.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Young Shubhankar Sharma finished an impressive tied 11th at the season-opening SMBC Singapore Open golf tournament to witness a fine start to the 2017 season, here on Sunday.

The 21-year-old Sharma, who was successful in keeping his card for 2017, showed that he is ready for the next level, as he played steady rounds of 69-68-72-70 to finish at five-under 279 and came within a whisker of a top 10 finish.

Sharma was the best of the three Indian finishers in the USD 1 million prize money event jointly sanctioned by Asian and Japan Tours, which kick-started the season on both Tours.

Gaganjeet Bhullar, who at one stage briefly held the lead, slipped to tied 18th.

Coming back to complete his third round, Bhullar had a bogey and a birdie in remaining three holes and shot 72 in the final round with two bogeys and one birdie. He finished at four-under 280.

Shiv Kapur had a rough finish with 75 and was tied 51st.

Sharma started with two birdies in first four holes, before running into a rough patch with a bogey-double bogey, which set him back.

He bounced back with birdies on ninth and 18th with pars in between.

Meanwhile, Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng received his early birthday present when he eclipsed his younger rivals with a final round of four-under-par 67 to lift his 10th Asian Tour title.

The Thai turns 51 in eight days and interestingly event was inaugurated the year he was born.

Marksaeng’s closing birdie on 18 proved decisive as it gave him a one-shot advantage and also the clubhouse lead.

His four-day total was nine-under-par 275.

Thailand’s Phachara Khongwatmai, South Africa’s Jbe Kruger, Philippines’ Juvic Pagunsan and defending champion Younghan Song of Korea all had chances to pip Marksaeng or at least force a play-off but that crucial putt from the Thai in the closing holes simply eluded all of them.

The quartet finished one shot back of Marksaeng and shared second place with a total of 276.

World No. 7 Adam Scott had a round to forget as he signed off with a 74 to finish tied ninth.