Shubhankar Sharma ensured a cheerful birthday after a heroic effort over the back nine of the demanding Carnoustie course to make his first cut in a Major. Shubhankar, who turns 22 on Saturday, was staring at the prospect of an idle weekend having ballooned to five-over for the tournament after the front nine on 20 July 2018. Nothing seemed to be working for him – his hitting had suddenly gone wayward and the putts were refusing to go in.
He then turned it around in the most cavalier fashion. The back nine of Carnoustie is brutal in the best of conditions; it was spiteful with incessant rain and cold. But a birdie on the 10th from 15 feet set the tone, and the piece de resistance was the one on 18th, where he hit a stunning second shot from the rough to six feet to sign for an even-par 71.
After a two-over 73 on 19 July 2018, Sharma’s four bogeys, including three on the front nine, were offset by four birdies on the back nine. The total of two-over 144 should be enough for a ticket to the weekend. Halfway into the second round, 70 players were tied at that score with the possibility of the cut even going to three-over par.
Also making sure they remain factors were 2014 champion Rory McIlroy (69, 4-under) and 14-time Major champion Tiger Woods (second round of par 71). The other Indian in the field, Anirban Lahiri, who teed off later, was one-over for the day after nine holes. Sharma, who started with a bogey after his ball got plugged in the greenside bunker, is the youngest Indian to make the cut in a Major.