Friday, 17 August, 2018

Wallace prevails over Johnston in Indian Open play-off

Shubhankar Sharma holds his own to card 72 stays in joint lead at Hero Indian Open Golf: Sharma shares lead after challenging day three in India
Ben Pena | 11 March, 2018, 23:24

What an exciting day's golf it was at the Hero Indian Open!

Barring Shubhankar, none of the Indians had much to boast about on Saturday.

"This is a tough course and it is not easy to go low here".

As it turned out, it was last week once again for Sharma. Durant, a victor three weeks ago at the Chubb Classic, shot 66 and was one shot back alongside McCarron (68), who missed a par putt from about 3 feet on the par-4 14th as part of an up-and-down back nine. In what must rank as a disappointment for home fans, only eight Indians made the cut on the lengthened - and testing - course at their national Open, and of those that survived, seven - including 2015 victor Anirban Lahiri (T32, 75) - went over par as conditions continued to test resolve, ability and skill. In the process, Wallace became the first Englishman to win the title, whose history dates back to 1964. You can hit great shots, but it can run into the rough or slope. I had a few bad swings at the start that put off my rhythm. "Thereafter, whenever I made a birdie, it was followed by a bogey or double bogey which dented my chances further".

Wallace, who went into the fourth round with a one-shot lead with 21-year-old Shubhankar, got a birdie in the playoff played at the 18th hole, as Johnston could only make a par effort.

Johnston shot a final-round 66, Wallace a 68.

A birdie-bogey-birdie-birdie sequence between the fifth and eighth holes made him close the gap on Wallace who had taken over the lead.

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Both players were looking for their second European Tour title, but it was Wallace who prevailed after making two pars to finish 72 holes and then coming up trumps in the playoff. It was satisfying to master this course. It demands you to be constantly on your game. The set-up was nearly a US Open style with sloping fairways and fast greens. I think he's going to do really well.

For Sharma, it may have been a missed opportunity. I'm looking forward to tomorrow. "I'm excited about playing the match-play format after a long time at the WGC Match Play later this month".

"I played great", he said. It'll be a good break from strokeplay.

"I'm hitting the ball well and I hit the ball well the last two days, " McCarron said. That helped me a lot as he's a veteran. Disappointments are part of the game. So, I told myself, just hang in there. "The next time I'm in this situation, I'll do better".

India's young golfing sensation Shubhankar Sharma on Friday fired a course record of eight-under 64 to stay within touching distance of clubhouse leader Emiliano Grillo on the second day of the Indian Open.

"Today's round will definitely rank up there as one of my most significant achievements, especially when it is played at this course", Sharma added. "One has to play a ideal round of golf to come out on top", he said.

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