Dubai, Jan 28 (PTI) A fighting Shubhankar Sharma failed to make the cut after falling short by one stroke at the weather-hit Hero Dubai Desert Classic golf tournament here on Saturday.
After not being able to hit a single shot on the opening day, Sharma played 21 holes on Friday and another 15 on Saturday, but he missed a 3-footer for par on his 36th hole at the Emirates Golf Club to miss the cut.
"That's golf. But I will take some positives as I was Top-10 and played well last week in Abu Dhabi and here I played well in spells," said Sharma, now in his 11th year as a pro.
Though all pros are used to start-stop-start, it never helps and the rhythm suffers. That took its toll on Sharma.
The lead at 10-under at the top was shared by three stars, so different from each other.
Richard Bland, who won his first DP World Tour title well into his mid-40s and was the runner-up last year, shot a second straight 67 a week ahead of his 50th birthday to take the top position.
Thomas Pieters (67-67), who missed the cut in Abu Dhabi last week, after a two-over front nine, played a stunning back nine with seven birdies in nine holes, to also be at 10-under.
With them was a 21-year-old American amateur Michael Thorbjornsen (70-64), who last year was tied fourth in a PGA Tour event, the Travelers Championships.
The World No. 2 amateur is co-leading the event a round after World Amateur No 1, Ludvig Aberg (65-73) led the field after the first round.
Rory McIlroy said there were "definitely more negatives than positives" in his second round after adding 70 to his first 66.
McIlroy, looking for his third win at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic, was tied seventh and at 8-under he was two shots off the lead.
Sharma, after a fine four-under in his first nine on the back stretch of the Emirates Golf Club, was unable to keep the momentum going.
On the tougher front nine, the Indian bogeyed the second, birdied fourth and again bogeyed seventh. He hit a great chip-in birdie on eighth from 10 yards to get to 2-under, but then missed a 3-foot par putt after getting out of the rough and hitting his third shot to three feet.
"I fought hard and played well on the back nine, my first nine. Then (on 8th) I had a perfect chip, which I knew was going in from the moment I hit it. (On 9th) It was disappointing to miss the small (3-footer) par putt. But that’s golf," he said.
McIlroy had mixed feelings as he lay tied seventh at 8-under and two shots off the lead.
"I chipped and putted it well, and I got myself around the golf course okay. Being able to post a couple of decent scores and at least have a chance going into the last two days." PTI ATK ATK