India's Shubhankar Sharma gets Masters invitation

India's Shubhankar Sharma approaches the green on the 16th hole in the final round of the Mexico Championship at Chapultepec Golf Club in Mexico City, Sunday, March 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

Eduardo Verdugo

NEW DELHI (AP) — Shubhankar Sharma had wildly contrasting nines but recovered for a 1-over 73 in his opening round at the Indian Open on his home course Thursday, two days after receiving a special invitation to play in the Masters at Augusta.

Starting on the back nine at the tough DLF Golf and Country Club, Sharma shot 41 with three bogeys and a double-bogey. But he came back on his final nine to shoot 32 with four birdies and was six strokes behind the early leaders.

The 21-year-old Sharma held the 54-hole lead in his first World Golf Championship appearance last week in Mexico. He finished tied for ninth after a closing 74.

Sharma was at No. 462 in the world three months ago when he shot 61 in the second round and won the Joburg Open. He closed with a 62 last month to win the Malaysian Open, making him the only two-time winner on the European Tour this season.

Sharma, now ranked 66th, also leads the Race to Dubai on the European Tour.

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