North Berwick (Scotland), October 3
With long-time friend Ainesh Ahluwalia doing duty as his caddie, India’s Shubhankar Sharma produced a terrific finish in the second round of the ASI Scottish Open here, making four birdies in a row to rise to tied 13th.
He carded 4-under 67, only his second round in the 60s in more than two months. It was also only his third round in the 60s this entire year.
The 24-year-old Sharma carded an eventful four-under 67, equalling his best in 2020, which was a 67 in the second round of the Portugal Masters two weeks ago.
Friday’s round at the challenging Renaissance Club included an eagle, five birdies and an eagle that took his 36-hole total to 5-under. He was lying tied 13th, the best he has been at the halfway stage of any event in 2020.
The other Indian challenger, Gaganjeet Bhullar, missed his second straight cut as he shot 77-73.
Australian Lucas Herbert made the most of early favourable conditions to take a one-shot lead into the weekend. He added 65 to his opening 66 to lead at 11-under par as he searched for his second European Tour title in 2020.
Englishman Robert Rock (65-67) sits one shot off the pace, with his countrymen Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter (67-66) and two-time Rolex Series winner Lee Westwood (62-71) forming the chasing pack.
Some well-known names missing the cut were 2016 Masters champion Danny Willett, Justin Harding, Martin Kaymer, Sam Horsefield, Graeme McDowell, Thomas Pieters and last week’s winner John Catlin and Jazz Janewattananond.
Sharma began with a bogey on 10th, but made amends with an eagle as he hit driver and 4-Iron to 25 feet and holed it on Par-5 16th.
On his second nine, the back stretch of the course, he had five birdies including one with a 20-footer on eighth, which was his fourth in a row.
Sharma said, “I hit my irons well and except for a couple of long ones, I hit it close to get the birdies.” When Sharma dropped a shot with what he himself described as a “silly” bogey on fourth, his 13th of the day he was even par through 13 and at 1-under for the tournament he was in danger of missing yet another cut, which ultimately fell at 1-under.
Four birdies from 14t to 17th ensured a good solid position to make a charge over the weekend.
A pleased Sharma added, “I had a pretty good day today and was pretty happy with the way I played, especially to make those (four) birdies towards the end.
“I had a silly bogey on fourth, which was my 13th. Earlier I started the round with a bogey on 10th.” “To be honest I have been playing well for the past few weeks but the scores haven’t been great. I’ve been feeling very good since last week. Sure, the Irish Open was a very tough but we also got a few bad breaks.”
Among other Asian Tour members in the field, Kalle Samooja (65-70) was T-6, Li Haotong (68-70) and Masahiro Kawamura (69-69) were T-19, Lee Min Woo (66-74) was T-41st while Wu Ashun (70-70), Wang Jeunghun (73-68) and Scott Hend (71-70) were T-53rd. PTI