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Sharma hopes to relive fond Joburg Open memories

Sharma hopes to relive fond Joburg Open memories

India's Shubhankar Sharma hopes to revisit positive memories as he makes his long awaited title defence in the 2020 Joburg Open at Randpark Golf Club.

Shubhankar Sharma

Sharma claimed his maiden European Tour title at this event when it last featured on the European Tour International Schedule in December 2017 in what proved to be a successful rookie season for the Jammu native.

The then 21-year-old held his nerve to secure a three shot victory over home favourite Erik Van Rooyen in a weather-delayed tournament which eventually finished on Monday.

Two months later, Sharma seal his second victory at the Maybank Championship before he went on to win the 2018 Harry Vardon Trophy as the season's leading rookie.

The event has not featured since but returns on the 2020 Race to Dubai in a co-sanctioned tournament with the Sunshine Tour to kick off the three week South African swing.

Sharma has not been in the winner's circle since his victory in Malaysia but the World Number 347 is confident his previous success on this course can lead to a productive week in Johannesburg.

"It still feels like it was yesterday, I still remember everything," Sharma said.

"That's where it all started for me. I have fond memories and I am really happy to be back, and have my best friend on the bag.

"I think I was very calm the whole week. I don't think I made a bogey in the last three days so every time I got in trouble I could get out with a par and I think that was the key. I kept grinding.

"Obviously it was a Monday finish. Sunday night wasn't easy for me but I was just calm throughout and my game was in place and got the win on Monday.

"It is tree lined and I grew up on courses back home which were tree lined so it definitely suits me. It usually flies a long way here and obviously you have to make a lot of calculations and adjustments for your yardages but by the look of it definitely, it suits my eye.

"I think the weather is great. Even when I won in '17, I think it was in December that time so we are pretty close to that, similar weather.

"I love the city, I think it is very green and very nice so I'm really looking forward to the tournament starting and hopefully I can draw on them good memories and have another win here."

Shubhankar Sharma

The 2020 schedule was postponed for more than four months due to the coronavirus pandemic but Sharma insists that he is relishing the return of competitive action.

"Not only me but most of the professional golfers," he added.

"We just love competition, we just love coming back and it's like out comfort zone, especially me coming back here on a Tuesday or a Wednesday before the tournament seeing everyone here. It is very comforting feeling, something that I'm used to.

"This is my eighth year as a professional, there are players here who have played for 20 years and they can attach to that. They are always coming back and competing and trying to win every week that keeps them going and grinding and that's the beautiful part about the sport.

"You are always competing against yourself around the course, that's exactly how I look at it. You always want to better yourself, better every aspect of the game and that's why this game is so unique. You can never conquer it so you just keep going and grinding."

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