Birmingham, May 16
Shubhankar Sharma finished Tied-34th after carding a 3-under 69, his best round of the week, as England’s Richard Bland won the British Masters golf tournament here today.
The only Indian to make the cut among four participants, Sharma had five birdies in his final round but also gave away two bogeys and finished the tournament at 4-under. Sharma’s third straight under-par round helped him move up 18 places today. After five straight pars, Sharma found his first birdie today on the par-4 sixth, though he dropped a shot on the very next hole. He birdied the ninth to turn at 1-under. On the back nine, after four pars, Sharma raised hopes with three birdies on four holes from the 14th, but he ended his round with a bogey on the par-4 18th. He’s currently 131st on the Race to Dubai rankings, though he’s expected to move up.
Earlier in the week, India’s Ajeetesh Sandhu, SSP Chawrasia and Gaganjeet Bhullar had missed the cut.
Bland, meanwhile, claimed an emotional maiden European Tour victory on his 478th appearance after the veteran overcame young Italian Guido Migliozzi in a playoff to win the title.
Bland richly deserved the win at the famous Brabazon Course at The Belfry. He showed great nerves twice to clinch the victory — first at the 72nd hole where he holed a monster birdie putt to finish 13-under courtesy a 6-under 66 today. Then, after Migliozzi had forced a playoff thanks to a 4-under 68 today, Bland again showed his mettle. Having found a tricky lie from his drive on the first playoff hole, the 48-year-old pulled off a stunning five wood approach to leave himself a makeable two-putt.
Migliozzi, 50 yards further forward on the fairway from his own drive, proceeded to push his second shot to the right of the green. Bland rolled his birdie putt deftly to within three feet while his Italian counterpart raced his own birdie putt past the hole on the middle tier of the iconic green. Migliozzi missed his par putt and Bland knocked holed for his own par to earn a career-defining triumph after numerous near-missed down the years.
The victory puts Bland in pole position for a chance to earn a place in the US Open at Torrey Pines in June. — TNS, agencies