The Open: Birthday boy Shubhankar shoots even-par 71

The Indian marked his 22nd birthday with his first-ever appearance on a weekend at a Major.

Shubhankar Sharma is now two-over 215 and T-56th.   -  AFP

India’s Shubhankar Sharma marked his 22nd birthday with his first-ever appearance on a weekend at a Major, playing the third round of The Open at Carnoustie, Scotland, on Saturday. He shot a second successive even-par 71, a score that could see him move backwards or at best stay where he was on Friday, at T-52.

After 74-71-71, Sharma is now two-over 215 and T-56th with a lot of players still on the course.

Late on Friday, Anirban Lahiri missed the cut after a second round 74 following his first-round 76 to finish at eight-over as the cut fell at three-over. Sharma was two-over after two rounds and he remained there after three, too.

Read: Prowling Woods on Open charge

Sharma had a birdie on second after missing a chance on first, but gave away that gain on ninth, which he bogeyed for the second day running and then gave away another shot on 10th. However, he fought back with a birdie on Par-5 14th and added another with a brilliant second shot on 15th to six feet and he holed it. But on the very next hole, he gave a shot with a bogey on 16th.

‘Best birthday present’

Looking back on his day’s work, Sharma said, “This is the best birthday present for myself, playing in The Open and the weather was perfect [on Saturday]. This is the best way I could have spent my birthday. I received a lot of well wishes. I woke up and saw a lot of messages on my phone but I couldn’t see all of them yet. I would like to have played better than I did but I am very happy that I am playing the round (weekend). I did my best [on Friday] to try and make it to the weekend. [On Saturday,] I just didn’t make enough putts. Even though I made the birdie on the second, which was a good start, I couldn’t really capitalise on it.”

While Sharma played an even-par round, many other players were wreaking havoc on the normally unforgiving Carnoustie Links. None evoked greater interest than Woods, who started the third round at even par and went to five-under through 11 holes and when he hit a sixth birdie on 14th, he was in shared lead with a bunch of others that included overnight leaders Kevin Kisner and Zach Johnson, besides Jordan Spieth, Tommy Fleetwood and Kevin Chappell.

The crowds were roaring, as Woods made some big putts and missed some narrowly and the ball once stopped right at the lip with just half a roll needed for it to drop into the hole.

With no less than 15 players within two shots of the current lead, midway through third round, the battle for the Claret Jug promises to be tight and tense and Woods is in the thick of it.

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