Shubhankar Sharma: ‘You learn from your losses’

Recent disappointments will “help me become a better player,” says India’s 21-year-old golfing sensation.

Shubhankar Sharma (second from right) at a promotional event in Chennai on Friday.   -  Shayan Acharya

Once a promising youngster, Shubhankar Sharma has become India’s golfing sensation in the last two months.

Shubhankar clinched the Johannesburg Open title, and came strikingly close to WGC-Mexico Championship crown on his PGA Tour debut. But the 21-year-old golfer from Chandigarh could not hold on to his form on the final day and conceded the title. Weeks later, it was quite a similar story at the Indian Open in Delhi.

But Shubhankar admits that he is learning from those losses.

“On the last day, you have to have momentum on your side. In Mexico, there was a bad swing, and some unlucky shots put me out of contention. On the final day, you can’t afford to make mistakes. You learn from your losses,” Shubhankar told Sportstar on the sidelines of a golf clinic, organised by TAKE Solutions, on Friday.

“When I won my first tournament a few years back, I had lost many leads. These things will just help me become a better player. I came back from behind and won in Jo’burg, so I will be able to do it again,” Shubhankar said.

‘Have to finish well’

The young golfer underlined the value of finishing well to win. “You have to finish well in order to win a tournament. That gives you more confidence. When you put yourself in conditions, where you have a chance to win — you always draw up on your past experience,” Shubhankar said.

The young gun will also feature in the Masters Tournament — the year’s first major, in April after receiving a special exemption from Augusta National— and he will be leaving for the U.S. on Saturday to play some PGA Tour tournaments. “I will be leaving for America tomorrow and will be participating in a couple of tournaments ahead of the Masters and I hope to make the most of them,” Shubhankar said.

While he dreams of making a cut for next year’s Presidents Cup, Shubhankar does not want to rush things. A dream would come true if Shubhankar manages to book a berth in the International team, captained by Ernie Els. In 2008, Shubhankar had attended one of Els’ clinics, when the 19-time PGA Tour winner came to India for the Indian Masters.

“Tiger and Ernie are legends of the game and to play in Ernie’s team will be fantastic. That will be a dream come true for me. But again, that’s next year and I will have to play well to make a cut next year. It’s a long way,” he said, adding, “both Anirban (Lahiri) and I have a chance of making the cut. It’s good to see people talking about it.”