For First Time in Indian Golf, 5 Players Make it to Top 200 in World Rankings
Shubhankar Sharma jumped from rank 193 to 72 after winning the Maybank Championship while Shiv Kapur and Ajeetesh Sandhu also climbed up to figure in the top 200.
Five Indians now figure in the top 200 players in the world golf rankings, marking the first such feat for the sport in India. Ajeetesh Sandhu reached No. 199, jumping ahead from the 204th place he was ranked at during the end of 2017. Shubhankar Sharma is the highest ranked Indian golfer at the moment, at No. 72.
Sharma won the European Tour this season and jumped from rank 193 to 72 after winning the Maybank Championship in Malaysia on Feb. 4. He also won the Joburg Open in December 2017. The 21-year-old golfer is the youngest Indian to reach rank 72, and is currently the highest ranked in India.
“Congratulations to Shubhankar,” Nick Tarratt, Director, European Tour International, Dubai office, said in a statement. “There is still a lot of golf to be played and if he maintains his position inside the top 60 in the Race to Dubai then we will be delighted to see him tee it up at the climax to the European Tour season at Jumeirah Golf Estates in November next year.”
Besides Sharma, the other Indian golfers in the top five are Anirban Lahiri, who is currently ranked 76th, Gaganjeet Bhullar (155), Shiv Kapur (192) and Ajeetesh Sandhu (199). Lahiri was at rank 66 at the end of 2017 but fell to 76. Kapur was No. 201at the end of 2017 and went up to 192 after the Maybank Championship.
Sharma is also the fourth highest-ranked Indian ever, after Jeev Milkha Singh (whose career best was World No. 28 in 2009), Anirban Lahiri (whose best ever ranking was 33rd in 2015) and Jyoti Randhawa (whose personal best was 70th in 2008).
Jeev Milkha Singh was quoted as saying by the Hindustan Times: “The sky is the limit for Shubhankar and he will keep pushing the boundaries, but more than that he is an inspiration for youngsters. If I can turn the clock back and say that if Jeev Milkha Singh could achieve a world ranking of 28 (in 2009), so can a young aspirant. Belief has seen Shubhankar this far and many more milestones lie ahead but he needs to stay grounded and surround himself with the right people. Doing so will help him rebound quicker as setbacks are part of life.”
Previously, only two Indians have been in top 200 at one time — Singh and Randhawa in 2008/09, and Singh and Bhullar in late 2012.