Sentosa, Singapore: Shubhankar Sharma has captured the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings title after a ground-breaking year.
After making a career breakthrough at the 2017 Joburg Open, the 22-year-old Indian carried his winning momentum into the new season and clinched his second Asian Tour title at February’s Maybank Championship in Malaysia.
There, Sharma overcame a four-shot deficit by shooting a final round 10-under-par 62 to claim a stunning two-shot victory at the US$3 million event. He earned the winner’s cheque for US$500,000, which gave him a significant head start in the merit race.
A month later, he set a new course record at the DLF Golf and Country Club en route to a tied-seventh finish at the Hero Indian Open. Sharma carded a sizzling 64 in the second round, beating the mark set by 2017 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion Gavin Green by one shot.
Sharma’s commendable finish in India extended his advantage on the Habitat for Humanity Standings.
The merit race heated up following outstanding performances by Korean Park Sang-hyun and South African Justin Harding on Tour. However, Sharma had one hand on the coveted trophy after he finished tied-sixth finish at last month’s Honma Hong Kong Open presented by Amundi.
With Park not playing and Harding missing the cut at the South African Open, Sharma’s lead on the merit list is unassailable going into the season-ending Indonesian Masters. And with that, Sharma is crowned Asia’s new number one.
Sharma is the fifth Indian to earn the distinction.
In addition to his Asian Tour exploits, Sharma had a top-10 finish at the 2018 WGC-Mexico Championship, played all four Major tournaments this year and was awarded the European Tour Rookie of the Year.
Said Sharma: “I’m really happy with what has happened to me. Obviously, the Asian Tour played a big role as the Tour has given me the chance to compete and helped me develop my game to my current level.
“This year has been a huge learning curve for me. I’ve played in some of the biggest events I could ever imagine and learned a lot. I know I have the game to be among the best in the world and I just want to keep playing well and give it my best shot.”
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