Young Shubhankar Sharma gave himself a fine start in the 2017 season with Tied-11th finish at the season-opener at the SMBC Singapore Open on Sunday. The 21-year-old Sharma, who was successful in keeping his card for 2017, showed that he is ready for the next level, as he played steady rounds of 69-68-72-70 to finish at five-under 279 and came within a whisker of a Top-10.
Sharma was the best of the three Indian finishers in the US 1 million event jointly sanctioned by Asian and Japan Tours, which kick-started the season on both Tours.
Gaganjeet Bhullar, who at one stage in the third round briefly even held the lead, slipped to Tied-18th. Coming back to complete his third round he had a bogey and a birdie in remaining three holes and shot 72 in the final round with two bogeys and one birdie. He finished at four-under 280 and Tied-8th.
Shiv Kapur had a rough finish with 75 and was Tied-51st. Sharma started with two birdies in first four holes, before running into a rough patch with a bogey-double bogey, which set him back. He bounced back with birdies on ninth and 18th with pars in between.
Meanwhile, Thailand's Prayad Marksaeng received his early birthday present when he eclipsed his younger rivals with a final round four-under-par 67 to lift his 10th Asian Tour title.
The Thai turns 51 in eight days and interestingly the year the event was inaugurated the year he was born. Prayad's closing birdie on 18 proved decisive as it gave him a one-shot advantage and also the clubhouse lead. His four-day total was nine-under-par 275.
Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai, South Africa's Jbe Kruger, Philippines Juvic Pagunsan and defending champion Younghan Song of Korea all had chances to pip him or at least force a play-off with Prayad but that crucial putt in their closing holes simply eluded all of them.
The quartet finished one shot back of Prayad and shared second place with their 276 total.
World number seven Adam Scott had a round to forget as he signed off with a 74 to finish tied for ninth.