Shubhankar makes torrid start

Shubhankar makes torrid start

It was a rough opening day on the golf's biggest stage for Shubhankar Sharma as he opened with a five-over 77 on his maiden Masters appearance.

Despite three birdies, he was shredded by eight bogeys, which included two bogey hat-tricks, one on each half of the Augusta National Golf Club.

Other Asian Tour members were Yuta Ikeda (76) at tied-62nd and Kiradech Aphibarnrat (79) at T-82. Honorary member, Vijay Singh of Fiji, led the field for a while and he was twice at 3-under, but finally ended 1-under and in tied-16th place.

Shubhankar seemed to have settled himself in after any jitters he may have had of playing his first Masters as he made three steady pars. Then came the first hat-trick of bogeys from fourth to sixth, but two pars and then his first-ever birdie suggested he might find his way back.

It was not to be as each of his three birdies were followed by bogeys; on the two occasions, it was on the very next hole. That never allowed him any breathing space.

"To be honest I am not too happy with the round. I didn't finish the way I wanted to, but it was great out there, the atmosphere and everything, it was fantastic," said Shubhankar.

"The back nine I was just making birdies and bogeys, until the 16th hole, and then 17th and 18th were bad. But maybe there are some bright things to look forward for tomorrow and I'll try and do my best."

Summing up the day, he said, "The putter did not work on the front nine and approach (shots did not work) on the back nine. It was a mix of both."

On his final three holes, Shubhankar said, "On 16 was I was trying to hit an easy 7-iron, which I pulled and it was pin high but it was just too far left. I will still not be too hard on myself. I made bogey, actually, a good bogey. But both 17 and 18 were hard."

Sharma, however, enjoyed playing on the course. "The course was great. I think we had good scoring conditions today. The pins were pretty decent and you had a good chance of attacking most of the pins on the course today. It wasn't too windy today and if it stays the same way tomorrow, I'll be able to shoot a good score and see a good round tomorrow."

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