Shubhankar Sharma (Pic- File by V Krishnaswamy); Inset Richard Bland (Pic: Getty Images/ European Tour)
The Belfry, UK, May 16: Shubhankar Sharma was not exactly pleased to finish the week with a bogey, but it still saw him return his best card of the week at 3-under 69, which saw him make a handy jump to T-34th at the Betfred British Masters hosted by Danny Willett.
Sharma, the only one of the four Indians in the field to make the cut, had five birdies but also gave away two bogeys and finished the week at 4-under.
Earlier in the week, Ajeetesh Sandhu, SSP Chawrasia and Gaganjeet Bhullar had missed the cut.
England’s Richard Bland meanwhile claimed an emotional maiden European Tour victory on his 478th appearance after the veteran overcame young Italian Guido Migliozzi in a play-off to win the title.
Bland richly deserved the win at the famous Brabazon Course at The Belfry. He showed incredible bravery twice over to clinch the victory – first at the 72nd hole where he holed a monster birdie putt to finish 13 under par courtesy of a six under 66.
Then, after Migliozzi had forced a play-off thanks to a four under 68, Bland once again showed his mettle. Having found a tricky lie from his drive in the first play-off hole, the 48-year-old pulled off a stunning five wood approach to leave a makeable two-putt.
Migliozzi, 50 yards further forward on the fairway from his own drive, proceeded to push his second shot to the right of the green. Bland rolled his birdie deftly to within three feet while his Italian counterpart raced his own birdie putt past the hole on the middle tier of the iconic green.
When Migliozzi missed his par putt, Bland knocked in for his four and for a career-defining triumph after numerous near-missed down the years, moving him to 14th in the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex in the process.
The victory also puts him in pole position for a chance to earn a place in the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in June. The top ten aggregate Race to Dubai points earners (not otherwise exempt) at the Betfred British Masters hosted by Danny Willet, Made in HimmerLand presented by FREJA and Porsche European Open will earn a place in the third Major Championship of the year.
Tournament host Danny Willett capped off a hugely successful week with a two under 70 and a share of 11th spot, having also raised £19,000 for Prostate Cancer UK – after title sponsors Betfred pledged to donate £1,000 to the charity for every birdie the former Masters Champion made during the week.