Shubhankar eyes another good show at Mexico

Shubhankar eyes another good show at Mexico

Shubhankar Sharma

India's Shubhankar Sharma said he will have to get the right mindset and also manage the course well to produce another good show at the WGC-Mexico Championship beginning on Thursday.

The 22-year-old will return to the WGC-Mexico Championship where he had produced a world-class performance over the first 54 holes before settling for tied-ninth place last year.

"To be honest, acceptance is really important. You can never have your top game every week, probably only one or two weeks you can play your best golf. That means whatever that is working, you have to make use of it," he said.

"Course management comes into play, short game is very important and you can win tournaments at 80 or 90 percent of your capabilities.

"The mindset is very important, you have to be positive and every time a player wins, you get into that mindset as it's all about confidence," he said.

Coming after a series of modest performances in 2019, Shubhankar, who was the Asian Tour Player of the Year in 2018, feels he has the game to win at the very highest level.

"I know if I can play my best stuff, I can win anywhere. It drives me every day to try to get back into the winner's circle," said Shubhankar, a two-time winner on the Asian Tour and European Tour.

Shubhankar was in lead after the second and third rounds at Club de Golf Chapultepec last year on his WGC debut before finishing T9. He was also the co-third round leader in the PGA Tour's CIMB Classic in Malaysia in October before finishing T10.

"Having been close I know I can contend. Now it is a question of finishing it off. But if I can get close, I can also get over the line," he feels.

"This week's course suits me. A win will make very happy but I don't want to think about what I want to finish. I just want to try to get my best golf out."

Shubhankar seemed to be short of real-time game after missing the cuts in two of the three European Tour events. So, he turned to a domestic Indian Tour event and finished T-2.

"I didn't plan to play but decided to do so as I wanted some match practice. I had a good week and got some confidence out it. I feel pretty fresh this year and I'm feeling good about my game," he said.

Shubhankar arrived in Mexico City last Saturday evening in an effort to overcome jetlag early and acclimatise to the altitude change where the Chapultepec course is some 7,600 feet above sea level, resulting in golf balls flying farther.

"I spent the whole of Monday figuring out how far the ball will travel and to get the yardages right. I played 18 holes in practice today (Tuesday) and will play another nine on Wednesday to get ready. It feels great being back here, a lot of good memories," said Sharma.

Phil Mickelson will defend his title this week against a stellar cast which includes 2017 FedExCup Champion Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Tiger Woods, who is making his first competitive appearance in Mexico.

"Whenever you play in a big event and against a stronger field, it gives you more opportunities to showcase what you have," said Shubhankar, who plays the first two rounds with Matt Wallace and Cameron Smith.

"Last year, I played in a lot of big events and those experiences get into the memory bank and helps make you a better player. I'm very comfortable playing against the big boys now."