Shubhankar clinches Kolkata Golf championship

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Kolkata, March 25 (IANS) Gurgaon’s Shubhankar Sharma shot a four-under 68 to emerge as the winner after a dramatic final day at the inaugural Kolkata Classic Golf Championship here on Friday.

This was Shubhankar’s second title of the season. He ended the week with a winning total of nine-under 279 at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC).

There was heartbreak for Bengaluru’s Khalin Joshi (71), who finished tied second, despite leading till the final hole of the Rs.30 lakh event. Kolkata’s Shankar Das brought cheer to the home crowd as he delivered the day’s best score of 67 to join Joshi in tied second at eight-under 280.

It was a keen tussle between two of India’s bright young prospects, Shubhankar (68-72-71-68) and Khalin (71-69-69-71).

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Shubhankar, who began the day in tied fourth, two off the lead, produced some excellent iron-play to accumulate four birdies till the 14th. He finally caught up with the overnight leader Khalin after a good recovery from the bunker that led to his fifth birdie of the day on the 16th.

The 19-year-old Shubhankar, who recorded a win and a runner-up finish on the PGTI last month, then seemed to have slipped out of contention as he overshot the ninth green to drop a bogey. However, there was a final twist in the tale.

Khalin, who was one ahead with three birdies for the day till he stepped on the 18th tee, landed his drive to the right and also missed a chip-putt on the last hole to concede a disastrous double-bogey that handed the title to Shubhankar.

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Shubhankar said, “I did well with the irons today even though I think I wasn’t at my best. It was tense out there towards the end. I thought Khalin will easily win at the end but I got lucky when he double-bogeyed the last.”

“It’s been a fantastic season for me so far and I’ll now be playing some events on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) in the next few weeks in order to get more exposure as well as world ranking points,” added Shubhankar, an Asian Tour rookie.

For Khalin it was another near miss at the RCGC. He had earlier come close to winning at the same venue during the Tour Championship last December.

Shankar (75-68-70-67), lying overnight tied eighth, jumped into the fray on the final day much to the delight of the local crowd thanks to five birdies against two bogeys on the first 13 holes. He became a serious contender with two more birdies on 15th and 17th, making a chip-in on the latter, before falling short by just one stroke at the end.

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