Shubhankar shoots stunning 62 to clinch Maybank Championship
Kuala Lumpur, Feb 4 (PTI) India's rising golfing star Shubhankar Sharma continued his red-form form as he fired a stunning 10-under-par 62 to clinch the USD 3 million Maybank Championship here today.
The 21-year-old Indian, who won the Joburg Open towards the end of the 2017 when the European 2018 season had already begun, has now won twice in a span of seven weeks and both on European Tour.
Shubhankar turned in a dominant display to clinch his second Asian Tour and European Tour title with a winning total of 21-under-par 267 in windy conditions at the Saujana Golf and Country Club. It was his fourth start since winning the Joburg Open in South Africa in December.
His sensational round included five birdies in each half which included clutch birdie putts on 17 and 18.
His winning total of 21-under is the lowest winning score at the Maybank Championship. This is Shubhankar's second Maybank Championship appearance. He finished tied ninth last year to seal his Asian Tour card.
The victory earned Shubhankar USD 500,000 and moved him to the top of the Asian Tour's Habitat for Humanity Standings and on the Race to Dubai on the European Tour.
The triumph is likely to push Shubhankar, currently ranked 193rd, to as high as the 70th place on the Official World Golf Ranking and he will potentially be the highest ranked Indian in the world. Lahiri is currently ranked 71st and missed the cut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in US.
"The last two months have changed my life. I've been a member on the Asian Tour for a while and I will continue to be a member on the Asian Tour. I've always dreamt of winning and now I'm a two-time winner on the Asian Tour and European Tour," an elated Shubhankar said.
"I'm over the moon. The last two months have been fantastic for me. I'm playing in The Open championship this year so I cant ask for anything more. Whatever happened today was fantastic," he added.
Shubhankar was in excellent form, dropping just three shots the entire week and he was flawless today. His final round 62 is his joint lowest score on the Asian Tour in relation to par. He shot a 61 (par 71) in the second round of the Joburg Open and a 62 on the last day of the 2016 Resorts World Manila Masters.
Shubhankar, who shot 70-69 in the first two rounds and made the cut in Tie-48th, produced 66-62 on the weekend for a sensational 16-under in 36 holes. His 66 in the third put him within four shots of the lead and he charged into contention on the final round when he got off to a hot front nine with five birdies in a span of six holes from fourth to ninth.
He added five more on the back nine on 11th, 13th and 14th and again holed touch clutch putts on last two holes.
Adding to Indian contingent's joy was Khalin, who is Shubhankar's roommate this week. Joshi, still searching for his first win on either Asian or European Tours, finished in a share of fifth place alongside Japan's Ryo Ishikawa, Hideto Tanihara, Nino Bertasio and world number 47 Dylan Frittelli of South Africa.
Joshi's earnings of USD 92,880 for the tied fifth has virtually secured him Asian Tour card for next season.
As for the other Indians, Shiv Kapur (72) slipped from T-11 to T-23, while Gaganjeet Bhullar (72) came down from T-19 to T-27th. Arjun Atwal (72) also slipped from T-26th to T-34. Jyoti Randhawa (71) was T-50th and SSP Chawrasia (70) was T- 55th.
Finishing second was the co-overnight leader Jorge Campillo of Spain, who eagled the opening hole before returning with a 68 to settle for second place two shots behind the Indian.
Pablo Larrazabal and Ryan Fox of New Zealand finished in third place after posting identical 66s.
The last time an Indian won in Malaysia was Anirban Lahiri in 2015. He went on to win the Order of Merit title in the same year