Shubhankar Sharma all set to start European tour with Hero Open

V Krishnaswamy Birmingham | Updated on July 29, 2020 Published on July 29, 2020

Shubhankar Sharma   -  @shubhankargolf

Miguel Angel Jimenez to make record 707th start

India’s Shubhankar Sharma has landed in Birmingham and is all set for his first competitive event in more than four and a half months since March. Sharma, who celebrated his 24th birthday last week, was thrilled to return to golf action as he tees up at the 2020 Hero Open with a purse of one million Euros. It also marks the first time an Indian company will be sponsoring a full-fledged professional golf event in Europe.

Sharma was one of the many Indians who looked forward to the Hero Indian Open before it became one of the many events to be cancelled or postponed due to Covid.

Meanwhile, Miguel Angel Jimenez, 56, will make a record 707th start on the European Tour. The charismatic Spaniard, Jimenez, turned pro in 1982 when many in the current Hero Open field were not even born. He won 33 international titles, including 21 on European Tour and he passes Sam Torrance’s record of 706.

Sharma, a two-time winner on European Tour, tees up with two popular stars Andy Sullivan and Eddie Pepperell for the first two days.

“I am looking forward to the grouping as both are great guys,” said Sharma, who added, “The travel (from India to UK) was different from what I have done so far. I needed some safeguards resembling a spacesuit to reach Birmingham. Now that I am in a bubble, life is back to normal, if we can call it so!”

He added, “The European Tour has done some amazing planning and shown a lot of passion and care. Hats off to Mr. Keith Pelley, our CEO. Also, I would like to thank Air India, our national carrier, for being so helpful and were fabulous all the way. Now it is time to hit the course and see some action. Thanks, everyone.”

Sharma will have former professional Gurbaaz Mann on the bag for this and the next five weeks through the remainder of the six-week UK Swing. The UK Swing began last week with the Betfred British Masters.

“Gurbaaz was with me when I played the WGC-Mexico, and I play with him often at home also. So it should be good, and I am feeling good with my game. I should get in a round of practice before the first round,” added Sharma.

Another man making a landmark appearance this week is Scot David Drysdale, and he will begin his 500th European Tour appearance at 08.10 with Italian Edoardo Molinari and England's Jordan Smith.

Danish teenager Rasmus Højgaard and South Africa's Justin Harding both pushed Paratore over the weekend last week, and they will tee off together at 08.20 alongside England's Matthew Southgate.

Former U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell is playing his second event of the UK Swing.

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Published on July 29, 2020
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