India’s Shubhankar Sharma produced the best-ever result by an Indian at golf’s oldest Major, the Open Championships, as he finished tied-eighth on Sunday. Sharma, playing his third Open, was the only player on the final day logging a bogey-free round of 1-under 70 for a total of 5-under 279. He finished Tied-eighth, earning a recall to the Open in 2024 also. Sharma’s result was also the second best by an Indian in any Major behind the T-5 by Anirban Lahiri at the 2015 PGA Championships. Jeev Milkha Singh was also T-9 at the 2008 PGA Championships. The previous best by an Indian at an Open was T-27 by Jyoti Randhawa in 2004 at Royal Troon, where the Open returns next year.
The runaway winner was the short left-hander from the United States, Brian Harman, who refused to fall prey to nerves as he had six years ago in the US Open.
He started the wet and soggy final day at Royal Liverpool Golf Club with a five-shot lead and finish six ahead of a foursome — Tom Kim (67), Sepp Straka (69) , Jason Day (69) and Jon Rahm (70), who were all tied at 7-under 277.
Sharma, who made the cut on his 27th birthday on Friday, and Cameron Young were tied eighth at 5-under 279, while Rory McIlroy (68) and Argentine Emiliano Grillo (68) were tied sixth.
Sharma called his play during the week and the final round in particular as “the best I have played in such conditions.” “Without doubt it was the best I have played and on such a challenging course,” he said.
Sharma produced rounds 68-71-70-70, all four rounds being par or better and was tied eighth place. His two previous finishes in the Open were both T-51.
The 2024 Open will be held at the Royal Troon and the final day will be on Sharma’s 28th birthday.
“The Open is always around my birthday so it is always a double celebration,” he had said earlier.
He had kept the celebrations on hold this week, but said with friends and family here, it will all be held next week.
“Right now I am just thrilled with the week’s result. It is something I have always believed in. The last few weeks I played good golf, but things did not come together and this week, right from the start I had a good feeling,” said Sharma, who was greeted by his family including father ML Sharma, mother Neena, sister Vandini and coach Jesse Grewal, as he finished.
Talking of records, Sharma said, “I am not playing for records. I just want to play my best golf. Jeev, Jyoti and Anirban are all great players. To be mentioned along with them is an honour by itself.
“It was very satisfying. I am beyond happy.” Sharma started with 13 pars and then had a birdie on 14th and later missed birdie putts on 17th and 18 by the closest margins.
American Brian Harman (70), started the final day five shots ahead of the next best and cut through the field for a huge six-shot win. There were four players, Tom Kim (67), Sepp Straka (69), Jason Day (69) and Jon Rahm (70) in the crowded second place.
Harman’s previous best at a Major was T-2 at the US Open, where he led after three rounds but lost to Brooks Koepka in the final round.
Harman dropped two bogeys in the first five holes, but found his feet again in slippery conditions, which saw many bigger names fall.
After getting back to 12-under with birdies on sixth and seventh, he had five more pars. Then came another bogey on 12th but he quickly repaired the damage with birdies on 14th and 15th and reached 13-under and finished there amidst heavy downpour.
The foursome in a tie for second included Korea’s amazing talent Kim, who revealed that he had suffered a Grade One tear on his ankle, but played the next three days through it to shoot 68-68-67 on the final three days.
The others were Straka (69), who won the second of his two PGA TOUR wins earlier this month at John Deere Classic, and two former World No.1s , Jason Day (69) and Jon Rahm (70).
The winner in Hoylake in 2014, Rory McIlroy (68) tied for sixth alongside Emiliano Grillo (68) at 6-under, while Sharma tied for eighth with Cameron Young (73), the runner-up in 2022 at St Andrews.
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