Shubhankar Sharma off to a solid start in Belgium in DP World Tour

Shubhankar Sharma (IND) during Round 1 of the Soudal Open Belgium 2023, held at Rinkven International Golf Club, Sint Jobsteenweg, Belgium. 11/05/2023. Picture: Eoin Clarke | Golffile All photo usage must carry mandatory copyright credit (© Golffile | Eoin Clarke)

May 12: Shubhankar Sharma had an action-packed first six holes and he rode it for a solid 3-under 68 start at the Soudal Open in Belgium. Sharma, who has been landing a lot of birdies, did so again with five birdies, but also ensured he did not drop too many shots as he bogeyed twice in Anwerp, Belgium.

His 3-under 68 placed handily at Tied-18 after the first round on the DP World Tour event.

Sharma’s compatriot, Manu Gandas (71) shot even par and was T-75 and will need a good start to make a run and make the weekend rounds as competition hots up in the European leg of the Tour.

Sharma, who is currently in Top-60 of the Race to Dubai rankings, needs to stay there to qualify for the season-ending events.

Sweden’s Simon Forsström carded his lowest round of the 2023 season  as he took a one stroke lead after the first day. The Swede made the turn in 32 strokes, four under par, and then carded three successive birdies from the 11th hole to sign for a bogey-free seven under par 64 at Rinkven International Golf Club in Belgium.

Sharma started with a birdie on the first but gave away that shot on the second. Then as is his style often, he went to a great run with three birdies from fourth to sixth and added one more on 11th. He dropped a shot on the eighth. He found a lot of fairways, almost 80 per cent, and hit the greens on more than 77% and needed 29 putts.

Gandas started on the 10th and was off to a flying start with birdies on 10th and 11th before he dropped a bogey on 12th. Then came birdies on 14th and 16th with a bogey in between as he made the turn in a fine 2-under 33. On his second nine, Gandas, who got into the Tour by topping the Indian Order of Merit in 2022, dropped bogeys on second and fourth to fall back to even par.

Forssttrom is one stroke ahead of his compatriot Jens Dantorp, James Morrison and Andrew Wilson of England, and Germany’s Marcel Siem, who is seeking a second victory of the season after his win at the Hero Indian Open in February.

Siem carded nine birdies, including five on the back nine as he recovered from a double bogey on the tenth in his six under round of 65.

Thomas Detry, who is seeking a maiden victory on home soil this week, is leading the Belgian charge after carding a bogey-free four under par round of 67 to sit in a share of 14th place after the first round.


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