Shubhankar shoots 67 in tough conditions rises to 4th in Abu Dhabi; Jamieson leads

Scott Jamieson and Shubhankar Sharma. Pic: European Tour

Abu Dhabi, Jan 22: Shubhankar Sharma bounced back from an early double bogey to card 5-under 67 that carried him inside Top-5 of the Abu Dhabi Championship, the first in the Rolex Series on the DP World Tour. After rounds of 70-71 on the first two days, Sharma rose from 3-under for two days to 8-under for three days and 54 holes.

Sharma, who won the second of his two European Tour titles in 2018, is now Tied-fourth alongside Norwegian Viktor Hovland, who bogeyed the 18th hole.

Scott Jamieson (68) will aim to become a wire-to-wire winner as he clung on to his lead carding a superb birdie on the final hole to move one clear of Shane Lowry (67) and Thomas Pieters (67). Jamieson is 11-under, while Lowry and Pieters are at 10-under with Sharma and Hovland at 8-under.

Sharma opened with a birdie on first but dropped a double on Par-4 sixth. He hit back immediately with an eagle with a superb 33-foot putt. He birdied ninth, 11th, 14th and 15th and parred the final three for his 67.

Sharma has now had two doubles – one on the first day on Par-3 fourth and one on Par-4 sixth on third day.

Sharma, who began the day with a fine birdie, had a double and fought back superbly for a 67, that was the score of the day. “I am quite happy with the way the day went, especially after that double bogey. It was important that I fight back after that and to get an eagle was very satisfying,” said Sharma.

On what is working for him, Sharma added, “I feel like it’s just a game of patience out here. With the high winds anything is possible and you know. So when that double (bogey) happened I just had to stay patient. So you just have to give yourself perspective every time you make those errors and try to give yourself as many opportunities as possible and that’s been working for me this week. And yesterday (Round 2) was obviously a true test of patience. I held up (in the second round) and today was the same.”

As for any changes he may have made in his game or attitude, Sharma said, “No, I have not made any changes. I went back home in October last year. I was on tour for six months and I was really tired. So I had to go back home and just chill with my friends. I had to get recharged and that’s all I’ve done. I’ve not really changed anything in my swing. And I just feel more energetic and more healthy now.”

On his plan for the final day, he said. “Patience. It’s all it’s all to do with patience. Tomorrow will be long day and I’m pretty sure it’ll be windy as well. So I just have to keep the energies up and give myself chances.”

Jamieson is looking for a wire-to-wire win, something Lowry achieved in Abu Dhabi in 2019. Lowry also won the Open Championship in 2019 but has not won since.

Lowry played alongside his fellow five-time winner on Tour, Pieters, and they both signed for five under par 67s to move to ten under.

World Number 7 Hovland is in the hunt despite a bogey at the par five final hole as he sits alongside Sharma on eight under, three off the pace.

Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello is a shot further back on seven under, joined by Englishmen James Morrison and Ian Poulter.

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