Monday, 19 March, 2018

Grillo builds four-shot Indian Open lead

Pablo Larrazabal USA TODAY Sports Images
Cary Erickson | 11 March, 2018, 01:22

Shubhankar Sharma, who three days ago received a special invitation to play at the Masters, made a charge with a course-record 8-under 64 - the best round of the day.

If it was Emiliano Grillo who sizzled on the first day, it was the in-form Shubhankar Sharma's turn on Friday at the Hero Indian Open.

And with Argentine Emiliano Grillo being the runaway leader after following his course record-equalling 7-under 65 with a 4-under 68, there was much to be anxious about at the DLF Golf & Country Club.

So stunning was Shubhankar's display, which also created the new course record that he himself was pleasantly surprised and was candid enough to admit it.

It's all change in India, where Shubhankar Sharma has shot a superb six-under-par 30 on the back-nine at DLF Golf and Country Club to move to within four so our man's back with another look. "To be able to bounce back is really important, I knew I was playing well and I had to push myself a little". I told myself that I have momentum on my side.

Grillo has got there in 36 holes and if he manages to keep going like this, it would impossible to take him on.

Shubhankar, who finished tied ninth in the World Golf Championship in Mexico last week, seems to have brought his form here, carding an incredible nine birdies and one bogey to create the course record. Four birdies followed in six holes, and the rest was history in the short life of the Black Knight course.

"I had to play nearly flawless golf to shoot a seven under". To hold the record on my home course would be mean a lot to me.

I knew about the course record so I went from it.

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"I'm just going to play the way that I've always been playing. I had about 168 yards to the hole and it landed like a feather just about a foot from the pin".

Overall, however, it was a forgettable day for the majority of the Indians.

With nine players yet to finish their second round, the likely "cut" stands at three-over 147.

While Anirban Lahiri (145). Shubhankar's "vegetarian" partner Khalin Joshi jumped 26 places to tied-9th with a 4-under 68.

As things now stand on day two of the tournament, Larrazabal is lying five strokes behind Emiliano Grillo in second heading into the weekend.

A timely wake-up call from a European Tour official saw Larrazabal wake up only 38 minutes before he was due to tee off, with a "10-second shower" and a "wild" auto journey to the course helping him make it in the nick of time.

"Shubhankar is great to play with.he's such a nice bloke. I got lucky that we didn't have traffic". "The head on him is unbelievable, and his attitude", said Johnston, 29.

"I think anywhere else it would have been close to a 59 or something".