Sharma lands rare albatross, but cards 74, lies 93rd in Spain
SOTOGRANDE, SPAIN – SEPTEMBER 03: Shubhankar Sharma of India tees off on the third hole during the first round of the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucia Masters at Real Club Valderrama on September 03, 2020 in Sotogrande, Spain. (Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images)
A rare albatross on the penultimate hole of the opening round brought Indian golfer Shubhankar Sharma to par in one swoop but the double bogey on the last one spoilt the effort at the 2020 Portugal Masters.
Sharma experienced ecstasy and agony on successive holes as he closed with two-over 74 to lie at Tied-93 on Thursday.
Sharma, who is going through a lean patch, opened the round late in the afternoon with a bogey on Par-4 first.
He got his first birdie on the fourth, but a double bogey on the seventh saw him turn in 2-over 37. On the back nine a bogey on 11th pushed him further down to 3-over.
As the round came closer to the end, Sharma’s 2-Iron from 241 yards on the 588 yard par 17th hole found its way into the cup for a rare albatross. It was the first albatross on the 2020 Race to Dubai.
But he finished with his second double bogey of the day on 18th for a 74.
Last year at the Memorial on PGA Tour, Sharma had a similar albatross in the second round.
Liam Johnston produced the lowest round of his European Tour career at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course, firing a sparkling round of 61 to lead by one shot at the end of the opening day.
At nine under par through 16 holes the Scot was in contention to match the historic 59 Oliver Fisher shot here two years ago.
England’s Laurie Canter is at seven under par after a round of 64, as all of the leading three players went bogey-free in Vilamoura.
Northern Ireland’s Jonathan Caldwell is at six under par, one shot ahead of South African George Coetzee, England’s Matthew Jordan, Dane Thorbjrn Olesen and Sebastian Soderberg of Sweden.
A group of 12 players are then at four under par, with World Number 16 Tommy Fleetwood and the highest-placed Portuguese player Toms Bessa amongst a further eight players at three under par.