Disappointing first spherical for Shubhankar in South Africa

Malelane (South Africa), November 27

India’s Shubhankar Sharma endured a tough opening round, carding a 1-over 73 to lie tied 80 at the Alfred Dunhill Championship here.

Sharma began in style with birdies on his first two holes, but then the birdies dried up. He had no more gains, but dropped shots on the Par-3 7th, Par-5 13th and Par-4 14th to finish over par.

Sharma needs a good finish both this and next week to make it to the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, for which only the top 60 on the Race to Dubai qualify.

Sharma is currently 137th on the standings.

Frenchman Robin Roussel and Poland’s Adrian Meronk took advantage of a receptive Leopard Creek course and shared the lead with their rounds of 7-under 65.

Roussel enjoyed a run of five consecutive birdies from the turn on his way to the top of the leaderboard, while Meronk had two eagles – chipping in from the bunker for one of them – as they opened up a one-stroke lead over the rest of the field.

Their nearest challenger is Scotland’s Scott Jamieson, who birdied four of his last five holes for a 66.

Ockie Strydom leads the South African challenge after day one following a rare bogey-free round of 4-under 68.

A bit of overnight rain and cooler conditions softened up the Leopard Creek course on Day 1 of this Sunshine Tour and European Tour co-sanctioned tournament, which allowed particularly the morning field to take advantage. PTI

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