Shubhankar Sharma is enjoying the test of links golf as he experiences yet more firsts in a remarkable season on the European Tour.
The 21 year old arrives at Gullane Golf Club for the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open in the middle of a stunning debut campaign that has seen him capture headlines around the world.
He became the youngest ever Indian winner on the European Tour when he won the Joburg Open in December and he followed that up with another victory at the Maybank Championship that fired him to the top of the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex.
He made his World Golf Championships debut the following month and was then handed an invite to the Masters Tournament to make his Major Championship debut at Augusta National.
A first Rolex Series appearance followed at the HNA Open de France and then last week came yet another new experience for Sharma - links golf.
A missed cut at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open may not have been what he was looking for but the six-time winner in his homeland knows it is all part of the learning process.
“I am feeling good,” he said. “Last week at the Irish Open was my first taste of links courses. This is the second week of links courses for me and I am very excited. I did not play that well at the Irish Open but it was a great learning experience and I really enjoyed playing links golf.
“The one thing I learned is that links golf is all about having more shots in your bag. You just can’t play the golf courses in one way, there are 10 different ways of playing them - you can lay up on a few holes on one day, and you can go for the green on other days. There are so many different options here which makes it all so exciting.
“It’s all about risk and reward and you’ve got to know which part of your game suits you better on a golf course. One key thing is keeping the ball in play and that was something that I did not do well enough last week. But I have worked on it after that and I am hopeful that this week would be much better.”
This is the second week of links courses for me and I am very excited - Shubhankar Sharma
Sharma's win in South Africa earned him a place at the Open Championship and he believes playing this week in an event won by countryman Jeev Milkha Singh in 2012 is ideal preparation for the year's third Major.
“I have seen this tournament on TV so many times, including the win of Jeev, I am really happy to be a part of it finally,” he said.
“It’s a great preparation for the Open Championship. That is the reason why so many players from the PGA Tour come and play these two weeks in Ireland and Scotland.
“Even though the set-up of the golf course is not as tough as the Open, it just prepares you for links golf, for the hard fairways, the pot bunkers and the mounds. This really is a great way to get ready for the Open Championship at Carnoustie.”