Ranked 521 last November, Shubhankar Sharma’s solid showing in Mexico pushed him further up on the latest Official World Golf Ranking – from 75 to 66.
It was not to be a dream finish for the 21-year-old, who stayed in title contention on the back nine of an enthralling Sunday afternoon, but the talented Indian can hold his head high following a T-9 finish in his debut at World Golf Championships – Mexico.
Excerpts from his final round interview:
Q: Shubhankar, I know it wasn’t the final round you were hoping for, but it was quite a week. Sum it up for us.
SHUBHANKAR SHARMA: Yeah, my first time in Mexico, my first WGC and I’m really happy. A little bit disappointed, I was leading and I think I couldn’t finish it off today. But that’s what the game is about. And what I learned today, especially playing with Phil, I’ll cherish it forever.
Q. You lipped out a few times on the front nine. It looked like you just needed to get some momentum, some movement to get your round going. Is that what you were waiting for?
SHUBHANKAR SHARMA: Yeah, I just felt like nothing went in. Maybe my speed was wrong, something was off. Even on 9 (inaudible) in the middle of the hole it lipped out again. I never felt like I could get the speed right or maybe the line, it just wasn’t going in, it wasn’t my day.
Q. You were still right in it until the 13th hole, I think. That was a costly three putt, wasn’t it? What happened?
SHUBHANKAR SHARMA: I made a birdie 12th hole. I hit it to the right. It was in a sprinkler head and I was trying to take a drop. Took a drop and it took a bad bounce and it went straight into the rough, which was a tough lie. I wasn’t chipping well today, so I didn’t have a great chip from there. Hit a fantastic wedge but I felt it was going (inaudible) in the end.
I just got some bad breaks today, hit a few bad shots. Hit a bad shot on 14 and I made bogey, par 15, birdie 16. I think I felt like after I made birdie on 16, I feel like I just need one more birdie and I can do it. I just hit the wrong shot on 17 and 18. The shot I hit on 18, I had to hit that shot on 17, and the shot I hit on 17, I wanted that on 18. Just a yardage problem. I didn’t feel like I hit a bad shot on either of those, but that’s how it is.
Q. Talk about the experience of playing in the final group at a WGC with massive crowds with Phil Mickelson, World Golf Hall of Fame player in that group. What do you take away from that experience?
SHUBHANKAR SHARMA: I couldn’t have if you would have asked me four months ago that I would be playing with Phil at a WGC the last day, I would have just laughed. Just playing with him has been fantastic. He’s obviously a great man, showed me a few great shots today. He’s not afraid to go out there and get it out there and hit it at the pin, and he took some crazy clubs off the tee today but that’s what Phil is all about. I’ll never forget it. Especially on 16 where he made birdie, it was the loudest roar I ever heard in life. It was fantastic.
Indian pro golfers Atwal, Jeev and Lahiri shower praise on Shubhankar. Read here.