Sharma seals Asian Tour merit title

India’s Shubhankar Sharma has captured the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings (Order of Merit) title after a groundbreaking year of achievements.

After making a career breakthrough at the 2017 Joburg Open, the 22-year-old Sharma carried his winning momentum over to the new season and clinched his second Asian Tour title at the Maybank Championship in Malaysia. 

There, Sharma overcame a four-shot deficit by shooting a final round 10-under-par 62 to claim a stunning two-shot victory at the US$3 million event. He earned a winner’s cheque of US$500,000, which gave him a significant headstart in the merit race.

A month later in March, he set a new course record at the DLF Golf and Country Club en route to a tied-seventh finish at the Hero Indian Open. Sharma carded a sizzling 64 in the second round, beating the mark set by 2017 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion Gavin Green by one shot.

The merit race was heating up following the outstanding performances by Korea’s Sanghyun Park and South Africa’s Justin Harding on Tour. However, Sharma had one hand on the coveted trophy after he finished tied-sixth finish at the Honma Hong Kong Open presented by Amundi in November.

With Park not playing and Harding missing the cut at the South African Open, Sharma’s lead on the merit list is unassailable going into the season-ending Indonesian Masters. He is the fifth Indian to earn the distinction.

Outside the Tour, Sharma has a top-10 at the 2018 WGC-Mexico Championship to his name, played all four Major tournaments this year and was awarded the European Tour Rookie of the Year. 

“I’m really happy with what has happened to me. Obviously, the Asian Tour played a big role, as the Tour has given me the chance to compete and helped me develop my game to my current level,” said Sharma.

“This year has been a huge learning curve for me. I’ve played in some of the biggest events I could ever imagine and learned a lot. I know I have the game to be among the best in the world and I just want to keep playing well and give my best shot.”

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