Matt Wallace triumphs, Shubhankar finishes tied 7th at Indian Open

Olive Hawkins
March 11, 2018

Shubhankar Sharma displayed admirable temperament to grind out an evenpar 72 to share the lead after the penultimate round of Indian Open at the challenging DLF course in Gurgaon on Saturday.

Wallace fired five birdies and a bogey in his round, while Johnston picked up six strokes in his flawless round.

As a result, after leading by turns, the duo shared the lead at seven-under 209, a shot ahead of Scotland's Stephen Galacher who returned the day's best 67.

Matt Wallace birdied the first play-off hole to beat Andrew "Beef" Johnston to the Indian Open title in New Delhi.

Sihwan Kim of the United States made a charge on the last day of the tournament, but he was not able to keep up with the relentless pace set by the leaders. This could not be anticipated when Wallace jumped to 12-under after the 10th hole to lead Johnston by three shots. The first two days were surprisingly calm.

"The wind was gusting around in different directions but I'm pretty happy with my score", added a relived Wallace. "I've done it at a lower level (Wallace won six times in a season on the subsidiary Alps Tour) but what Shubhankar has achieved in the past few months is inspirational", he said. In what must rank as a disappointment for home fans, only eight Indians made the cut on the lengthened - and testing - course at their national Open, and of those that survived, seven - including 2015 victor Anirban Lahiri (T32, 75) - went over par as conditions continued to test resolve, ability and skill. I had a few bad swings at the start that put me off my rhythm. I'm very pleased with the birdie at the last, which allowed me to grab a share of the lead.

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Emiliano Grillo, overnight leader by four shots, dropped three shots over the first four holes to find his lead shrinking alarmingly even as second-placed Shubhankar bogeyed the third hole.

"I hit some really good shots and that play-off: I pumped it down there on the last and it went a long way and then a four iron went even further than I thought it would so I was jacked up a bit".

Talking about his future tournaments, the Chandigarh golfer said, "I'm looking forward to a good week of rest next week at home in Panchkula".

Wallace, who had found himself three over through eight holes of his opening round, told "I'm ecstatic. I know it's going to be a battle out there tomorrow and I'll be ready for it".

Other Indians: 218: Ajeetesh Sandhu (68, 76, 74); 220: Jyoti Randhawa (72, 72, 76), Anirban Lahiri (72, 73, 75); 221: Khalin Joshi (72, 68, 81); 223: Kshitij Naveed Kaul (70, 76, 77), Karandeep Kochhar (75, 72, 76); 226: Udayan Mane (72, 75, 79).

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