Sharma opens with solid 69 as Fox leads at the Irish Open
Indian golfer Shubhankar Sharma slotted six birdies against three bogeys for a solid 3-under 69 in the opening round of the Horizon Irish Open.
At 3-under, Sharma was T-37 when the round ended late in the evening on Thursday after being inside Top-20 at one stage.
Ryan Fox, who started from the 10th, had just two birdies on the back nine on the 10th and 17th.
On his second nine, the front side of the Mount Juliet Estate, Fox went on a birdie spree with six in all for 6-under. He had four in a row from first to fourth and then again on sixth and eighth.
Sharma recovered from an early bogey on third with birdies on fifth and seventh. On the back nine, he birdied 10th but dropped a shot on 11th, birdied 13th and 14th before giving away a shot on 16th.
He then birdied 17th and closed with par for 69 with the hope that he would not drop as many in the second round.
It has been a pattern for Sharma for the past few months to grab a lot of birdies, but also drop a few shots along the way.
Sharma was playing with Stephen Gallacher, who was relishing the Indian’s company.
Gallacher won the last Hero Indian Open held back in 2019 and is still waiting to defend that title. He shot 72 with six birdies, four bogeys and a double on a day that was good for scoring.
Carrying four-year-old memories of when he came ever so close to winning this event, Fox carded eight birdies in a stunning opening round 64.
As full capacity crowds descended on the County Kilkenny venue to the historic national open for the first time since 2019, home heroes Pádraig Harrington, Shane Lowry and Séamus Power were the star attractions at the event. But it was Fox, who took centre stage at Mount Juliet.
The 35-year-old Kiwi had come agonisingly close to winning this event in 2018, missing out in a play-off to Russell Knox.
Fox is a shot clear of Frenchman Frederic Lacroix, Jorge Campillo of Spain, Paraguayan Fabrizio Zanotti and Marcel Schneider of Germany.
World number 36 Seamus Power and Niall Kearney were the leading Irishmen after round one, both carding four under rounds while Padraig Harrington and Shane Lowry will enter day two on two under and one under respectively.
“I’m more surprised, to be honest, than anything else. I’ve been fighting it on the range the last couple days after the weekend, and certainly didn’t look like it early in the round,” Fox said.
“I made a couple of birdies, but I was scrapping away, and then stop and collect on seven, eight, hit a great wedge shot in there and made a few putts as well.” Harrington looked like finishing at four-under but late bogeys spoilt the chance as Lowry admitted the course was “fairly scorable there this morning”.
Ridhima finds form on the second nine, shoots 68 to be ninth in Germany
India’s Ridhima Dilawari’s perseverance finally paid off as she returned a fine card of 4-under 68 to be in the Top-10 after the opening round of the Amundi German Masters.
Ridhima, who turns 24 later this month, had a slow start with an even par back nine after starting on the tenth.
Ridhima had four birdies against no bogeys to be placed T-9 with 68, which was five shots behind the runaway leader Sweden’s Jessica Karlsson, who fired an opening round of 63.
The scores were modest for some of the other Indian girls as Amandeep Drall (71) was T-45th and amateur Avani Prashanth, playing her first LET event outside India, carded an eventful even par 72 as did Diksha Dagar and they were both T-60.
Things did not pan out too well for Vani Kapoor (74) at T-87th and Tvesa Malik continued to struggle as she shot 76 and was T-110. They will all need solid second rounds to make the cut, which is likely to fall around par or 1-over.
Ridhima, who has just come off a win on her domestic Hero Women’s Pro Tour, was even par after 10 holes. She then birdied second, fourth, sixth and seventh for a fine card.
This season Ridhima has made just two cuts in five previous starts on LET and those were in April in Australia, where she finished T-25 and T-59.
Amandeep also started on the tenth and suffered a double bogey on the 11th and she was 2-over till the 12th. She then birdied three in a row from fifth to seventh and finished at a respectable 1-under.
Avani opened with an action-packed 72 with seven birdies, five bogeys and a double bogey, while Diksha, one of the only two Indian women to have won on the LET, carded 72 with three birdies and three bogeys.
Jessica, 29, who began her round from the 10th tee, carded a bogey-free day with six birdies in her first nine holes and three birdies in her final five holes.
Five players are in a share of second place three shots back on six-under-par including German duo Leonie Harm and Esther Henseleit. England’s Gabriella Cowley also signed for a round of 6-under 66, after rolling in three birdies apiece on the front and back nine.