Sharma rallies strongly on back nine, lies 29th, Hatton, Fitzpatrick share lead

Shubhankar Sharma

Dubai, November 18: Shubhankar Sharma rallied on the back with a strong 3-under stretch for a day’s total of 1-under 71 in the second round of the DP World Tour Championship. Sharma, who is returning to the event for the first time since 2018, which was also his only start in the season-ending event, admitted he struggled with the putter for most of the day, but did end with a satisfying 15-footer on the 18th at the Earth Course at the Jumeirah Golf Estates.

Sharma starting the day in tied 33rd place is now tied 29th at the halfway stage for what will be is final event of 2022.

“I did not have a good day with the putter. I also had some trouble on the right side. I was not able to hit the way I saw my shots. Hopefully, there are two more days to make some improvement,” said the youngster, who at 26 has already spent 10 years as a professional. “There are some good scores possible on this course.”

Tyrrell Hatton, a four-time winner of Rolex events, and the reigning US Open champion Matthew Fitzpatrick stayed toe-to-toe for another day. Starting at 7-under, the duo added 67 each to their total to get to 12-under and sit on a two-shot lead over Swede Alex Noren (69) and Spaniard Adri Arnaus (68).

Fitzpatrick was steadier of the two co-leaders with six birdies against one bogey, while Hatton holed eight birdies against three bogeys.

Two other Spaniards, Jon Rahm (66) and Jorge Campillo (65) were tied for fifth at 8-under, while Tommy Fleetwood (70) and Rory McIlroy (68) were tied eighth and tied 11th respectively. Fleetwood, winner in South Africa last week, was 6-under and McIlroy, looking for a third DP World Tour title, was 5-under.

Sharma opened the day with a bogey on first and then bogeyed the fourth for the second day running. A birdie on Par-5 seventh was some relief but then dropped a shot on ninth to turn in 2-over. Birdies on 13th and 14th salvaged the day and then he made another gain on the 18th.

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