Shubhankar Sharma’s victory in the Maybank Championship at Saujana Golf & Country Club has catapulted the young Indian star more than 120 places up in the Official World Golf Ranking into 72nd place.
The 21-year-old is now the highest ranked Indian golfer, replacing Anirban Lahiri who dropped from 71 to 76 in the latest rankings.
From joining the play-for-pay ranks at a tender age of 16 to becoming the leading Indian golfer in the world, Sharma’s rise up the ranks of professional golf has been nothing short of spectacular after claiming his second joint Asian Tour and European Tour victory in two months.
“The last two months have changed my life. I’ve always dreamt of winning and now I’m a two-time winner on the Asian Tour and European Tour,” said Sharma, who closed with a brilliant 10-under-par 62 at Saujana to win by two shots
The winner’s purse of US$500,000 moved Sharma to the top of the Asian Tour’s Habitat for Humanity Standings as well as the European Tour’s Race to Dubai. The young Indian broke through at the Joburg Open last December and earned himself a spot at The Open at Carnoustie this July where he will be making his Major debut.
“This win is great because it opens so many doors for me. I’m also playing in The Open so I’m excited about that. More and more players are coming out of Asia and India. You’ve had players like Arjun Atwal, Jyoti Randhawa and Anirban Lahiri. Just seeing them do well inspired us.
“Me winning now will inspire some kids so we need more idols to inspire more people and give them the confidence that they can do it as well. Asian golf is in the right hands. I am sure you will see more and more Asian players winning in Europe,” Sharma noted.
Prior to turning professional, Sharma was the top junior golfer in his country. He plied his trade on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) after missing the mark in his first attempt at the Asian Tour Qualifying School in 2014. He claimed his first top-five result on the Asian Tour on home soil that year.
Sharma enjoyed several starts on the tour in 2015 through his country exemption category before earning his card in what was his second attempt at the Qualifying School in 2016. He kept his card for the 2017 season after finishing 51st on the money list, thanks largely to atop-five finish in the Philippines where he closed with a 62. His career has been on the upswing since, notching four top-10s in 2017 before winning in South Africa.