Sharma’s improvement still leaves him shot of the cut at Masters as Reed takes over the lead
Augusta:Shubhankar Sharma played way better than the first day despite the strong breeze that made things rather difficult on Friday at the Augusta National Golf Club. Yet his 2-over 74 and the total of 7-over 151, left him way off the cutline that fell 5-over 149.
While Indian eyes were on Sharma and the golfing world largely looked at Tiger Woods (75), who managed to make the cut at T-40, the man in limelight by the end of it was Patrick Reed (66).
Reed who has birdied all four Par-5s in both rounds, had a neat pattern on the second day. He started and finished the front nine with three birdies in a row. Interestingly each streak of three-in-a-row birdies was followed by a bogey.
As Reed lead at 9-under 135, Marc Leishman (67) was sole second at 7-under 137 while the 2017 Open winner, Henrik Stenson (69-70), the 2016 Open, winner seemed to circling his second Major, as he moved to third at 5-under 139 with Rory McIlroy (69-71), looking to complete a career Slam with Masters, and 2015 champion Jordan Spieth (66-74) sharing fourth place.
Making it tight on the leaderboard were World No. 1 Dustin Johnson (73-68) and FedEx Champion Justin Thomas (74-67) in Tied-6th at 3-under, while Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler and Justin Rose were among those Tied-8th at 2-under.
On a day when the breeze was a big factor, Sharma once again drove well, though the putts continued to elude him. He admitted missing a lot of makeable putts and a few that lipped out.
“That’s part of golf, but I enjoyed my week and I will be back for sure. This experience was fantastic and I will never forget being here and enjoying every bit of it with family, who has supported me all the way while reaching here in my career,” said Sharma.
Sharma trying to become the third Indian to make a cut at the Masters after Jeev Milkha Singh and Anirban Lahiri, young Sharma had just one birdie but a handful of lip outs and close shaves. However, they were wiped out by three bogeys on the fourth, ninth and 16th. The 4th and 16th were where he had dropped shots even on the first day, but this time around there was just one birdie on the 15th.
Talking about his Masters experience, Sharma added, “It has been fantastic. I think I’ll be a few shots shy of the cut but I thought I played pretty good, just didn’t finish the way I wanted to yesterday. But this experience is invaluable. Just can’t wait to get back every year after this and I’ll do my best and I know I’ll have to play my best to get here every year, but it has been a fantastic experience. The course has been in superb condition, the crowds have been great and it’s just a pleasure to play in front of them.”
Despite missing the cut, Sharma plans to stay on for next two days, before heading to his next event in Texas. “I am going to stay on enjoy the week. I have learnt a lot and I will surely be back.”
Starting the day 5-over and needing a sub-par or at least a par round, as it turned out, to ensure weekend action, Sharma never found the momentum he needed to bring in a low score. “On this course, you need a few birdies to start with. I had the chance on first day and again on second, but did not quite hole them,” said Sharma. “But I was happy with my driving. Actually it was driving that I was thinking about. Until the end I kept on fighting and it just didn’t go my way, but I’m proud of how I played.”
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