Late double bogeys hit Sharma hard in Japan

Omitama, Japan, April 20: Shubhankar Sharma ran into trouble on his second nine and dropped down the leader board despite a good start in the 2023 ISPS Handa Championships.

Sharma returned to action after almost a month, had birdies on his first hole, the tenth at the PGM Ishioka Golf Club, and parred the next eight on the stretch. A second birdie on the first hole, his tenth of the day saw him at 2-under. Then he hit a rough patch with two doubles in three holes – on the second and fourth. He did have a birdie on fifth but yet another bogey on the Par-3 eighth meant he slipped to 2-over and was tied 117th. He will now need a solid second round to make the weekend rounds.

Sharma had a great start to the season with T-7 in Abu Dhabi and was T-13 in the Hero Indian Open at home, but has missed the cut in three of his last four starts.

England’s Andy Sullivan and South Korean Kim Yeongsu posted opening round cards of 63 each to lead the way. The four-time DP World Tour champion Sullivan fired eight birdies against one blemish, a bogey on the seventh.
Kim, the KPGA’s 2022 Genesis Point Award winner, produced a bogey free first round with seven birdies to join Sullivan on 7-under 63 as the DP World Tour hosted its first regular season event in Japan, alongside the Japan Golf Tour Organisation.

Englishman Sullivan started from the tenth tee and made birdies at the 12th, 15th, 16th and 18th to reach the turn in 31. He then reeled off a hat-trick of birdies from the third before recovering from a bogey on the seventh with a closing gain from around eight feet.

Swede Alexander Björk, Canada’s Aaron Cockerill and South African Deon Germishuys were one shot behind the leaders in a three-way tie for third.

Japan’s home challenge was led by Keita Nakajima, Ryutaro Nagano and Yosuke Asaji who fired matching five-under-par 65s and were tied sixth as the local stars look to do well and take advantage of Japan Tour’s alliance with the DP World Tour, which can earn them a passage into the world’s second largest Tour.


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