Sunday, February 25, 2024

Shubhankar Sharma carded a seven under par 65 to take a one stroke lead after the first round of the Horizon Irish Open.

The 27-year-old produced three birdies in his opening eight holes before holing out for eagle from 105 yards on the Palmer North Course at The K Club, making the turn five under par. He then carded two further gains on the back nine to sign for a bogey-free seven under.

Sharma, who became the first Indian recipient of the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Trophy in 2018, is one stroke ahead of a pack of five golfers on six under par. On that number are Ross Fisher, winner of the Irish Open in 2010, Jordan Smith, 2018 Ryder Cup Captain Thomas Bjørn, who also won this event in 2006, Kristian Krogh Johannessen of Norway and Germany’s Marcel Schneider.

Image Credit:- Getty Image

Venue: The K Club, County Kildare, Ireland
Prize Fund: US$6,000,000

Shane Lowry, who famously claimed the Irish Open title as an amateur in 2009, sits in a share of 13th place on four under par alongside Ryder Cup Captain Luke Donald. Rory McIlroy, winner of the Irish Open the last time it was played at The K Club shares 17th one stroke back on three under.

A total of €9,450 was raised for Official Charity Make-A-Wish Ireland through the Birdies for Wishes initiative after the first round, with tournament Title Partner Horizon donating €150 for every birdie and €300 for every eagle on the 18th hole during the four tournament rounds. There were 51 birdies and six eagles on the closing hole after the first day at The K Club.

Lowry and compatriot Pádraig Harrington added a further €4,500 to the fundraising total, with the pair pledging to donate €500 each for every birdie they card during the week, recording nine between them after the first day.

Shubhankar Sharma said : “It was really solid. Hit the ball pretty good. Made a lot of puts until the back nine which was my front nine, and the round kind of got even better when I made that third shot off 18. I holed out from 105 yards. That got me to 5-under, and the front nine was solid again, which was my back nine.
I haven’t seen the stats but I’m sure I gained some strokes on the field with my putting. It was one of those days that the hole grew bigger and bigger. Really pleased, yes. I was great off the tee but the putter would be number one.”

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