Shubhankar Sharma made a late bogey after a brilliant front nine to shoot a 6-under 66 to grab the joint lead at the Horizon Irish Open. Sharma shared the lead with Jordan Smith, who appeared to be closing in on the lead before he double bogeyed the challenging 17th hole.
Smith finished with a birdie for a 7-under 65 and was also 13-under at the Palmer North course at the K Club.
The star-studded field includes Rory McIlroy (69-70) at T-26. place and Shane Lowry (68-68) is T-9.
Things didn’t go too well for fellow Indian Manu Gandas (73-78) as he missed the cut by a wide margin.
Sharma, seeking his first win on the DP World Tour since 2018, cruised through the front nine at 7-under 28 with seven birdies and two pars. At this stage, Sharma was bogey-free and 14 under after 27 holes.
Bogeys at the 10th and 17th holes, where he went into the water, set him back as he had two bogeys and a birdie at the 11th for a day’s work at 6-under after an impressive 7-under first round.
At 13 under, he was six shots ahead of the next player at one stage. But at the end of the day, Sharma was joined by Smith.
“It was a really fast start. A very early morning start for us, so I was a bit sleepy in the morning. I managed to make a lot of putts on the front nine,” Sharma said.
“I had nine separate putts, which was amazing. I don’t think I’ve done that before. Everything was going well. I was hitting the right spots and I was really good at ten feet. So it all came together.” .’ “It was amazing. It flowed nicely. I was hitting the right spots and I was really good to 10 feet. It was still hot, unusual for Ireland. The greens were better. You can still get it and score.” “I’m not much of an expert to the stats. Good for you to tell me. I’m a bit of an emotional guy. I was sick last week but I played well this week. I’ve been working on some things and it’s good to see things working out,” he added.
Sharma, who opened the season with a T-7 at his first event of 2023 in Abu Dhabi, has had just one more Top-10 since then and it came at the Open, where he became the first Indian to record a Top-10 at the tournament. OPEN.
He is currently ranked 65th and is also looking to break into the Top 50 to qualify for the DP World Tour Championship in November in Dubai.
Smith, who won his second DP World Tour title at last year’s Portugal Masters, had nine birdies and a double bogey in his round of 65.
Sharma and Smith are one stroke ahead of England’s Ross Fisher, who went bogey-free after signing his second consecutive round of 66, with Germany’s Hurly Long tied for fourth at 11 under par.
Scot Calum Hill is fifth, who made three eagles and three birdies in his round of 65.
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