Two-time DP World Tour winner and former Rookie of the Year on the continental tour Shubhankar Sharma is back at the $2 million Hero Indian Open after three years. The 26-year-old is amongst the event favourites on what used to be his home course, the DLF Golf and Country Club. after five years on the road.
Sharma has over the past few years made five Major appearance said ahead of the Hero Indian Open 2023 that runs from February 23 to 26, “I’m very happy that the event is back. It’s like a fifth major, I’ve said that countless times this week. It’s very, very special and I’m very happy it’s back, especially at DLF.
“This course is very special to me. This is where I played quite a lot from 2012 to 2016, around the time that I joined the Tour and it’s always great coming back. The course is in great nick and it’s slightly different to what it was three years ago when I last played the Indian Open in 2019. The bushes have grown, the trees have grown, so it’s definitely tighter.”
The former Asia no. 1, who has a best of shared seventh place at the 2018 edition of his national open at the same venue, added, “It means a lot to have this event. I’ve been playing on the DP World Tour for five years now but quite a few Indian players are getting their first experience of proper international golf. A lot of good Indian players have emerged in the last few years and this event is great for them, they’re all very excited.”
A strong field of 32 Indians in the field including three-time Hero Indian Open winner, Jyoti Randhawa, and the two-time champion Shiv Shankar Prasad Chawrasia.
Meanwhile, defending champion Stephen Gallacher opens his title defence after a break of over1,400 days as the Hero Indian Open returns for the first time in four years.
The first from Scotland to win the Hero Indian Open despite its long history, Gallacher closed out his 2019 campaign with successive birdies to win by one shot.
Ahead of Thursday’s tee-off, the 48-year-old noted, “It’s 1,400-odd days since I was last here so there’s been a lot of hardship that’s happened since then but it’s great to be here and get the event played.
“There are plenty of great memories. It’s a course that’s not really changed very much, it’s in amazing condition, same as the last time we were here and I’ve got some great memories coming down the stretch. Hopefully I can replicate them this week.
“It’s just one of those courses you’ve got to be patient at; it’s not one you can force a score on. I had a poor hole on seven and then I think I had five or six birdies from then on in.
“Anything can happen. You’ve got to play with your head around here. Par is a good score. There’s some tough, tough holes and few you can attack but it’s just a really tough track and one of the best we play all year to be honest."
“It’s just a good track and I think it looks brilliant.”
Marquee groups: Round 1
Kazuki Higa (Jpn), Renato Paratore (Ita), Shiv Kapur (Ind)
Angel Hidalgo (Esp), Alex Fitzpatrick (Eng), Gaganjeet Bhullar (Ind)
Shubhankar Sharma (Ind), Gavin Green (Mas), David Law (Sco)
Nicolai Højgaard (Den), Robert Macintyre (Sco), Guido Migliozzi (Ita)
Søren Kjeldsen (Den), Edoardo Molinari (Ita), Thomas Bjørn (Den)
Jorge Campillo (Esp), Manu Gandas (Ind), Stephen Gallacher (Sco)
Yannik Paul (Ger), Sachin Baisoya (Ind), Thorbjørn Olesen (Den)
Jeunghun Wang (Kor), Kalle Samooja (Fin), S.S.P. Chawrasia (Ind)
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