Mexico City, March 2 (IANS) Indias Shubhankar Sharma savored a dream debut at the World Golf Championships here with an opening round of six-under 65 pushing him into tied second place and one shot behind leader Louis Oosthuizen.
The 21-year-old, playing in the last group alongside Malaysia’s Gavin Green, was beaming from ear to ear after keeping the bogeys of the card which included an eagle and four birdies at the Club Golf de Chapultepec on Thursday.
“I’m really pleased with the way I played. I was very nervous in the morning, but very happy with the way I put it all together. Even after the rain (lightning) delay that we had, just to make birdie on the last hole (on nine), absolutely fantastic,” Sharma said.
The young Indian prospect arrived in Mexico City in top form, having won co-sanctioned Asian Tour and European Tour tournaments in South Africa and Malaysia over a span of two months.
Despite missing the cut by one stroke in Oman and Qatar over the past fortnight, Sharma produced a flawless display which his caddie Gurbaaz Mann, a former Asian Tour player himself, described as “complete”.
Starting his day from the 10th tee, Sharma birdied 11 and 12 from 13 and two feet respectively before rolling in a tricky 15-footer for his third birdie on 18.
After finding the fringe at the driveable first hole, the Indian chipped home for eagle from 10 yards. He closed out his round in style by nearly holing out for eagle for an eventual tap-in birdie.
Sharma intends to keep his foot on the pedal despite being in his first WGC tournament which is featuring 45 of the world’s top-five players this week.
“To be honest, I’m actually relaxed now. I just wanted the first round to get out of the way. You’re always very happy when you start with such a low round, especially for me,” he said.
“This is such a big event, I would say this is taking some pressure off me, playing well on this course. And I proved to myself that I can roll it, so I’ll just do the same things that I’ve been doing,” he added.
Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat carded a 66 for tied fifth position while China’s Haotong Li returned a 73. Malaysia’s Gavin Green, the reigning Asian Tour No. 1, shot a 78.