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Wednesday, 07 March 2018
Shubhankar Sharma  (Getty Images)
Shubhankar Sharma (Getty Images)

This week's Hero Indian Open may feel like a fifth Major Championship to Shubhankar Sharma but the rising star is already targeting victory in one of golf's big four.

The Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex leader has enjoyed a mereoric rise of late, winning the Joburg Open to earn himself a place at the Open Championship and following that up with a win at the Maybank Championship.

A top ten on debut at last week's WGC-Mexico Championship after holding the 54-hole lead saw his stock rise even further, so much so he has been handed a special invitation to the Masters Tournament in April.

With two wins under his belt and two Majors on his calendar, the 21 year old has every reason to feel confident and he insists he will not just be making up the numbers on the biggest stage.

"I'm very happy. I got the call yesterday after I landed," he said.

"I was very tough on myself on the flight, I wasn't too happy with the way I finished the tournament but when I got the call all the pain washed away and I was very happy that I made it to the Masters.

"It's every golfer's dream to get to the Masters and I'm very happy.

"The Open Championship is my favourite Major but you can't compare a Major to another Major.

"I remember all the nights that I woke up and saw the Masters and the US Open and PGA. The Masters has the same feel to it as Wimbledon for tennis.

"It's a dream come true that I'm into Majors and hopefully I'll get into the US Open and the PGA as well.

"In golf, anything is possible. Now that I've won on a high stage and I've competed with the best in the world at the WGC, I feel like if I play my best for four days it will be good enough to contend anywhere in the world.

I feel like if I play my best for four days it will be good enough to contend anywhere in the world - Shubhankar Sharma

"I know my best will be good enough for a top ten or a top five or even a win."

This will be Sharma's fourth Hero Indian Open on a course he knows well but he does not think he enters the week as the favourite despite his recent exploits.

Two-time defending champion SSP Chawrasia and in-form Ryder Cup star Chris Wood are part of an impressive field gathered in New Delhi for the biggest event on the Indian golfing calendar.

And while it would be a dream come true for Sharma to claim home glory, he knows he not only has to beat the field but the fearsome DLF Golf and Country Club layout.

"The Indian Open is very close to my heart. It is our fifth Major for all of us," he said.

"I've grown up watching the Indian Open on TV and most of Indian Opens since I could go, I've been there to witness it myself.

"To win the Indian Open in front of a home crowd has always been a dream for me and whatever happens I will come back to the Indian Open.

"I'm glad that I'm back to my home course and trying to win this tournament. I'm really looking forward to it, it's a great field and the golf course is great as well.

"The toughest competition here at the Hero Indian Open is the golf course. It’s about managing yourself out there.

"Not a lot of players will finish under par this week. The course is playing tougher compared to last year and it’s going to be a test of patience.

"A lot of great players are playing this week so may the best golfer win."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1WALLACE, MattENG18-11
2JOHNSTON, AndrewENG18-11
3KIM, SihwanUSA18-8
T4LARRAZÁBAL, PabloESP18-7
T4SCHWAB, MatthiasAUT18-7
6GRILLO, EmilianoARG18-5

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