Sharma finishes season’s best tied third in Madrid, Rafa grabs title

Madrid, Oct 11 (Golf news) Indian golfer Shubhankar Sharma produced his best performance of the year with a final-round five-under 66 to sign off tied third at the ACCIONA Open de Espana that placed him in the top-60 of the Race to Dubai standings.

Sharma, who had rounds of 67-64-70-66, finished at 17-under as Rafa Cabrera Bello defeated fellow Spaniard Adri Arnaus in a play-off to end his four year wait for a European Tour victory.

For Sharma, this was the fourth Top-10 finish of the season during which he was T-8 at Made in Himmerland; T-9 at Cazoo Classic and T-9 at BMW PGA.

But this week's T-3 was by far his best, signalling a return to form for the young Indian.

The third place also took his world ranking to 255th, which makes him the highest placed Indian just ahead of Anirban Lahiri's 266th.

Sharma, starting the final day in fifth place, may well have contended for the title but for a double bogey on the par-3 third and a bogey on the fifth.

Overall, he had eight birdies, but apart from the double, he must also ruing the birdie miss at the par-5 14th.

Sharma birdied the second, fourth, seventh, eighth, 10th, 12th, 17th and 18th. The last two birdies gave him an outside chance of getting into the play-off but Cabrera-Bello and Adri Arnaus made no mistakes.

For Rafa, it also completed the set of Spanish national championships as he has won Spanish titles at all age groups as an amateur.

Rafa, the 2016 Ryder Cup star, entered the final day with a two shot lead but lost it by the second tee and was two behind Arnaus at the turn after a battling front nine.

A hat-trick of birdies from the 13th had him back in a share of the lead at 19-under and he produced a stunning up-and-down from the sand on the last after a ragged tee shot to save par and take the contest to extra holes after a 69.

In the play-off Cabrera Bello birdied from 11 feet to seal a fourth European Tour title. Arnaus carded a closing 67 but was left to reflect on a fourth runner up finish in 72 European Tour starts.

Also Read : Lahiri slips on third day at Shriners Open in Las Vegas

News Source : PTI


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