Golf: Shubhankar, Bhullar gear up for Abu Dhabi Championship

Shubhankar Sharma and Gaganjeet Bhullar will lead the Indian challenge at the 15th Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, beginning on Thursday.

Shubhankar Sharma, who has been on the European Tour, ever since he won twice in a short period in Joburg and Kuala Lumpur, is playing in Abu Dhabi for the third time. [File photo]   -  GETTY IMAGES

Shubhankar Sharma and Gaganjeet Bhullar will lead the Indian challenge at the 15th Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, beginning on Thursday.

Sharma will play his first round with David Lipsky, who like the Indian, has won the Asian Tour Order of Merit in the past.

Lipsky was Asian Tour number one in 2014 and Sharma achieved the same in 2018. The third player in the pairing will be Andrea Pavan and they will be the first to tee of in the afternoon on Thursday from the tenth tee.

The other Indian in the field is Gaganjeet Bhullar who will play with Gavin Green and James Morrison and they play at 8.10 am on Thursday from first tee.

Sharma, who has been on the European Tour, ever since he won twice in a short period in Joburg and Kuala Lumpur, is playing in Abu Dhabi for the third time. He finished T-48 in 2018 and missed the cut last year.

READ | Golf: Tvesa Malik returns to action in second leg of WPG Tour

“I have not done too well in these parts, but I have also matured in my game,” said Sharma.

The Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship is the first Rolex Series event of the year and gets underway with a pre-event Hero Challenge featuring world number one Brooks Koepka.

Koepka, who missed the President’s Cup due to injury, is keen to get back to top-level action and make a bid to add to his Major tally.

“I love this place. The golf course is really good. It’s in great shape, even after all the rain that they have had here. It’s just a place I like coming to. I felt comfortable here and hopefully play well this week,” said Koepka.

On his return from injury, he added, “I miss competition. When you have three months off, it’s not fun, I know that. But it makes me appreciate the game more every time and hopefully I don’t have anymore of those situations.”