Shubhankar Sharma to lead strong field in Indian Open Golf tournamentFebruary 13, 2018
The home flavour to the Hero Indian Open will be there anyway, more so with the emergence of Shubhankar Sharma as the highest ranked Indian in the world at No 71. Shiv Kapur termed it a “battle of generations” and it would interesting to see how defending champion SSP Chawrasia, at 39, contends with the challenge from youngsters like Shubhankar, who at 21 zoomed up the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) with two wins on the European Tour in less than two months to be where he is now.
Talking of youth, in the mix for the week of March 8-11 at the DLF Golf and Country Club will be Argentine Emiliano Grillo, who recorded his breakthrough win on the PGA Tour in 2016, and the affable Andrew Johnston of England, a winner on the European Tour. Another notable international entry is the experienced Thomas Bjorn. The Dane, a 15-time winner on the European Tour, will lead Europe at the Ryder Cup in September and was at the helm of Europe’s EurAsia Cup triumph last month.
From Anirban Lahiri, a winner at the Delhi Golf Club in 2015 and the other Indian in the top-100 of the OWGR at 77, to the otherwise much-feted Jeev Milkha Singh in search of his maiden national Open win at 46 years, the level of competition bodes well for Indian golf. Shiv, who broke a long-standing title drought last year by winning thrice on the Asian Tour and will be a serious contender, said it was about keeping expectations down.
Now that he is in the mix, courtesy his performance last year, the 2020 Olympics is on the mind but that in no way is preoccupying Shiv. The objective is to get better. “One can never control form but the intention is to play well. If that gets more wins, great, otherwise the bigger goal is to keep learning and improving.”
The difficult course conditions coupled with the quality field for the Indian Open, Shiv is planning a different approach. “The course is such that it forces you into a shell, but I plan to attack this time,” he said.