Newport, Wales, Aug 15: Shubhankar Sharma spent almost three hours on the knife edge before getting to know he had made the cut at the Celtic Classic at the Celtic Manor.
Sharma, who had missed the cut in his last two cuts on the ongoing UK Swing, and his last six cuts on the European Tour going back to Dubai Desert Classic, carded one-under 70 for a total of one-under 141 to make the cut on the line. He is Tied-65th.
Sharma, one-over through six holes for the second round, had a good run of three birdies in a row around the turn from ninth to 11th to get to two-under for the tournament. A dropped shot on 15th meant he was on the bubble. He saved pars on the closing stretch.
Sharma said, “The conditions were not too easy early on but I thought the cut would be one-under and am glad I was right. Oh, yes, it could have been a disappointment if any of the guys (at one-under) and playing behind me had birdied towards the end. But I suppose everyone was being careful.”
He added, “It was somewhat windy and drizzling on the front nine, but it was better as we were halfway through the round.”
With a laugh, he admitted, “It was more tense waiting for others to finish than when I was playing. Now that I am in for the weekend, the focus is on getting a couple of good low rounds. There are birdies to be made and I have to go and get them.”
Sharma began well with a birdie on second, but bogeys on fourth and sixth meant he needed a solid back nine. A birdie on ninth set the tone as he reeled off three in a row on ninth, 10th and 11th. A dropped shot on 15th made things tense, but he survived it.
A late birdie from any of the three players, including last week’s winner, Andy Sullivan, Alexander Bjork or Adri Arnaus could have knocked out Sharma. Sullivan, who double bogeyed the 16th to drop to one-under, parred last two; Bjork who rallied with birdies on 14th and 15th parred the last three and Arnaus, at one-under, parred the last four.
Meanwhile, Englishman Sam Horsfield, 23, who won his maiden European Tour title at the Hero Open during the second leg of the six week UK Swing, moved into contention with the help of four successive birdies around the turn. It could have been even better but for the late triple bogey.
Gavin Green of Malaysia, who missed the cut last week, was out of the cut line after 15. He birdied the 16th and closed with an eagle to get to three-under and stay on.
Horsfield held a three shot lead over Callum Shinkwin and Andrew Johnston but had a triple bogey six at the 17th saw him drop from 12 under and one clear of the duo.
Johnston, who opened the day with a triple bogey seven on first had another bogey on fifth to go four-over, was on fire after that., He had seven birdies and an eagle-two on Par-4 15th for five-under 66 and is now in contention at 9-under.