Sharma’s back nine fightback falls short at Hero Open; misses cut

Birmingham, July 31: Shubhankar Sharma gave it all on the back nine with four birdies in a six-hole run, but ended short of the cut line at the 2020 Hero Open at Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club.

After being three-over at one stage after a hat-trick of bogeys from ninth to 11th, Sharma reeled off three birdies in a row. And added a fourth on par-5 17th while giving a big shot at an eagle. He ended with a par on Par-3 18th and finished with one-under 71 and a total of even par. He was Tied-79th when he finished and the cut looked likely to fall at two-under.

This was Sharma’s first event since the Qatar Masters in March, and he is due to play in the remaining four events on the UK Swing.

Among others missing the cut were Justin Harding, Joost Luiten and Julian Suri, while Eddie Pepperell withdrew after first round 76.

Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez retained his pole position as moved to 13-under with a birdie-birdie finish and three-under 69 in the second round.

Sam Horsfield was seven-under through 14 holes and moved to 11-under and second behind Garcia Rodriguez. Thomas Detry was five-under through 17 and was 10-under and third. Alexander Bjork carded five-under 67 to be second at nine-under.

Starting the day at one-over 73, Sharma was three-over after 11 holes in the second round. At four-over for the tournament with seven holes to go he was in danger of missing the cut, before he started fighting back with birdies on 12th, 13th and 14th to get to one-under for the day one-over for the tournament. He added a birdie on par-5 17th even as he went all out to go for birdies in each of his remaining holes on the back nine.

Sharma opened with a birdie on first, but then bogeyed fourth and sixth before he found another birdie on Par-3 eighth. After that he had three bogeys in a row from ninth to 11th and endangered his chances of making the weekend rounds. Then came the rally, but he ended short.

Veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez, 56, playing his 707th European Tour, opened the second round from eight-under and at one time caught up with Garcia Rodriguez, who had yet to start. But then Jimenez dipped to finish even par for the day and at eight-under after 36 holes he was very much in the mix and in Top-five. Also at eight-under for 36 holes were Alexander Levy (69) and Mikko Korhonen (69) and were Tied-seventh.

Garcia Rodriguez, the 31-year-old rookie opened with a stunning 62 on Thursday and turned in 35 to reach 11 under for the week. Birdies at the third and seventh took Garcia Rodriguez clear of the chasing pack before a dropped shot on the eighth left him 11 under for the week. He ended the day with birdies on 17th and 18th, with 69 and was now 13-under.

Read also:

Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez’s 62 put into background by veteran Jimenez’s 64; Sharma shoots 73

Sharma set for Hero Open after four and a half months gap; Jimenez to make record 707th start


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