'I am going to stay on enjoy the week. I have learnt a lot and I will surely be back'
Shubhankar Sharma exited at the halfway stage of his maiden Masters, but insists he has learnt enough to come back and make a mark in the future. Playing way better than the first day, Sharma did a good job despite the strong breeze that made things difficult on Friday at the Augusta National Golf Club.
His 2-over 74 got him a total of 7-over 151, and left him way off the cutline that fell 5-over.
The man on the second day was Patrick Reed, who had a hat-trick of birdies on no less than three occasions but curiously he also dropped a shot at the end of each streak.
He had nine birdies against three bogeys for a stunning 6-under 66 that carried him to the very top at 9-under. Despite a bogey on 18th he was two shots clear of Australian Marc Leishman (67) who provided one of the highlights of the day with an eagle from four feet on Par-5 15th.
Reed has now birdied each of four par-5s on both days and that has been the strength for him.
Tiger Woods, who has been the buzz all week, birdied only 13th and 15th, but dropped shots on three other holes and he had a double bogey on Par-3 fifth as he shot 75 following 73 on first day. He is 13 shots behind Reed and Tied-40th.
Talking about his Masters experience, Sharma added, “It has been fantastic. I think I'll be a few shots shy off the cut but I thought I played pretty good, just didn't finish the way I wanted to yesterday. But this experience is invaluable. Just can't wait to get back every year after this and I'll do my best and I know I'll have to play my best to get here every year, but it has been a fantastic experience. The course has been in superb condition, the crowds have been great and it's just a pleasure to play in front of them.”
Despite missing the cut, Sharma plans to stay on for next two days, before heading to his next event in Texas.
“I am going to stay on enjoy the week. I have learnt a lot and I will surely be back.”
Starting the day 5-over and needing a sub-par or at least a par round, as it turned out, to ensure weekend action, Sharma never found the momentum he needed to bring in a low score.
“On this course, you need a few birdies to start with. I had the chance on first day and again on second, but did not quite hole them,” said Sharma.
“But I was happy with my driving. Actually it was driving that I was thinking about."
On his game he added, “Yeah, I thought I played really well today. It was really windy out there and that's why you don't see too many low scores today. So I thought I played pretty good, just missed a few putts. Until the end I kept on fighting and it just didn't go my way, but I'm proud of how I played.”
It was also a day, when Rory McIlroy trying to bury the ghosts of 2011, moved into contention with a solid 71 on a day when the scoring was tough. McIlroy was 4-under 140 for the tournament and tied with him was Jordan Spieth, who suffered an eight-shot swing from his first round 66 to card 74 and at 4-under 140.
As Sharma fell off, Li Haotong, who was 3-under for first day, fell to one-over for the tournament with a 76 on second day and was T-23. Li was tied with Vijay Sigh (71-74). Kiradech Aphibarnrat after shooting a 79 on first day improved by nine to card 2-under 70 and made the cut on the line at 5-over.
Defending champion Sergio Garcia (81-78) missed the cut by a mile as his 13 on Par-5 15th was still the talk of the tournament. Also missing out was 2016 winner, Danny Willett (75-76).
On Friday, Sharma bidding to become the third Indian to make the cut at the Masters after Jeev Milkha Singh and Anirban Lahiri, had just one birdie but a handful of lip outs and close shaves.
However, they were wiped out by three bogeys on the fourth, ninth and 16th. The 4th and 16th were where he had dropped shots even on the first day, but this time around there was just one birdie on the 15th.