Fort Worth (US), May 23: Shubhankar Sharma returns to action after a three-week break in his quest for the coveted PGA Tour card following invitations from the Fort Worth Invitational starting on Friday and the Memorial Tournament next week. Sharma tees off with Corey Conners and Ben Silverman from the tenth tee, while another Indian Anirban Lahiri will start from Michael Thompson and Ryan Blaum from the first.
As for Lahiri, the last three holes of the final round at the AT&T Byron Nelson would have added to the confidence as he had an eagle and two birdies in three holes to finish T-26th. Lahiri has great memories of the Colonial Fort Worth Invitational, where he was T-6 in 2016, and of the Memorial next week, where he was T-2 last year, and that is his best career result on the PGA Tour.
Some of the big names in the field this week include the PLAYERS champion Webb Simpson, Jordan Spieth, Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose, Jimmy Walker and Jason Dufner among others. Sharma hit global spotlight following a magnificent T-9th finish at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship in early March.
That performance which followed his twin successes in Joburg Open and Malaysian Championships on Asian-European Tours also earned him invites to the Masters and an event in Texas, besides making it to the WGC-Matchplay. Though the youngster played well, he failed to make cuts at Masters and Texas and did not go beyond the first stage.
"Obviously, I had a great week in Mexico but I didn’t play too well after that. A few aspects of my game were not working and I’ve got to learn to manage that part of the game," Sharma said.
Sharma needs to gather enough FedExCup points to enhance his chances of joining Anirban Lahiri on the Tour. The last 15 weeks have seen Sharma play 12 events and therefore the recent break was a welcome one. "I practically did nothing and had a wonderful time with my family and friends. The break also gave me time to work on my game and fitness, as well as refining some parts of my game to get ready for the second half of the year. I feel really good, the game feels good. It’s been a fruitful three weeks. Now, I have to go out there and shoot some good numbers," Sharma said.
"Colonial is a great layout, it’s narrow, has a few long holes but is not overly long in general. You’ve got to position well off the tees and the greens are relatively small, which means you’ve got to be on top of your game. I like courses where you have to be accurate off the tee, and this reminds me a bit of the course in Mexico."