Sports

Shubhankar Sharma fight back to 1-under 71; favourite Rose sixth in Turkey

V Krishnaswamy ANTALYA | Updated on November 07, 2019 Published on November 07, 2019

Shubhankar Sharma produced an admirable fight back to get to one-under 71 while the favourite and double defending champion Justin Rose finished with a hat-trick of birdies as the Turkish Airlines Open got off to a roaring start on Thursday.

Englishman Tom Lewis, who won the Korn Ferry Tour Championship to gain a PGA Tour card, and Austrian Matthias Schwab, whose superb season has eight Top-10s, including a second at European Open, and two T-4 in last three events, carded superb seven-under 65 each to share the lead. American David Lipsky, Belgian Thomas Pieters and Swede Alex Noren were at six-under 66 each.

Rose, the double defending champion, and winner once  on PGA Tour this year, was two-under for the front nine  before he hit two bogeys on either side of an eagle on par-5 11thto be two-under. Over the last six holes, he parred 13-14-15 and then finished in style with a trio of  birdies to reach five-under 67.

Sharma finished with back-to-back birdies to salvage a round that seemed to be getting out of hand after the first 10 holes. Sharma, playing the Maxx Montgomerie course for the first time, though he played the event last year, mixed five birdies with two bogeys and a double bogey for a one-under 71.

Sharma was Tied-37thalongside Race to Dubai leader Bernd Wiesberger and former  Masters  champion Patrick Reed.

A relieved Sharma said, “That 71 felt like a 67 considering how few fairways (only six) I found. There were quite a few good saves, too, like the 12thwhich is a long hole. I did not find the fairway again and hit it into the rough. I had no shot as the ball snuggled up next to a tree where there was some loose grass piled up. I called the referee to see if I could get a drop, but it was ruled as loose impediment. I kneeled and used a wedge and it was like a hook and went from way right of the fairway to left of it; I hit it 40 yards ahead and 40 yards sideways. From there I hit a nice 8-Iron to six feet and holed for a very good par.”

Sharma missed birdie chances on 14-15-16, two of them inside eight feet. “So after that it was good to finish birdie-birdie. On 18 I hit a good drive and a thinnish 3-Wood for a long eagle putt. Coming back for the birdie it was tricky three-footer, but it dropped. One-under means I am still in and I feel better.”

Sharma struggled at many holes, but added, “I was proud of the way I fought back after a double on fourth and the bogey on sixth. The bogey on sixth was actually a good one after I went to water. On the 10thit was a bad swing.”

Shane Lowry carded 72 despite missing three putts inside three feet, something he said he has not done the entire year during which he won the Open Championship.

Published on November 07, 2019
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