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Shubhankar selects experienced Lahiri as partner for golf World Cup

Shubhankar Sharma and experienced Anirban Lahiri will team up to represent India at the 2018 ISPS HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf to be held here in November.


Shubhankar Sharma and experienced Anirban Lahiri will team up to represent India at the 2018 ISPS HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf to be held here in November.

Shubhankar, who qualified as one of the top 28 eligible players, chose Lahiri as his partner after he got the right to select his playing partner because of his higher ranking. While Subhankar is ranked 107, Lahiri is placed 110th.

It has been a great last few days for Shubhankar, who first qualified for his maiden World Cup and was then recommended for the prestigious Arjuna Award.

He is also leading the Asian Tour’s Habitat for Humanity standings and if he tops that he will become the youngest Indian to become Asia No.1 and follow in the footsteps of Jyoti Randhawa, Arjun Atwal, Jeev Milkha Singh and Anirban Lahiri, who have won the top Asian honours in the past.

It will also be a great chance for both Shubhankar and Lahiri, both of whom are hoping to make the Internationals Team for the 2019 Presidents Cup at the same venue.

It will be Shubhankar’s first World Cup appearance, while Lahiri plays for the second time, the first time was in 2013 with Gaganjeet Bhullar. Lahiri was tied 25th individually in 2013.

While Lahiri has been on the PGA Tour since 2015 and made two Presidents Cup teams, the 22-year-old Shubhankar, a two-time European Tour winner, won the 2017 Joburg Open and 2018 Maybank Championship.

Lahiri has also played in events like the Olympic Games, two Presidents Cup, and three EurAsia Cups.

“I’m very excited to be pairing up with Shubhankar. He’s a special talent and a dear friend so obviously it’s going to be a lot of fun. We both have the capability to bring back the trophy if we can play to our abilities. It is special and a great honour to play for India,” Lahiri said.

Shubhankar added: “The last few days have been special. First came the selection to the World Cup, then the Arjuna Award and now I have the opportunity to play alongside Anirban (Lahiri), who I have always looked up to. He is a great friend and I have learnt a lot from him.”

India first competed in the World Cup in 1969 when Shadi Lal and Ryda Valjii paired up and the best from an Indian duo came in 2005 when Arjun Atwal and Jyoti Randhawa finished ninth.

The 28 two-man teams for the World Cup are now official, with each country’s leading player getting the right to select his partner for the unique team format.

England’s Ian Poulter was among the notables selected and will make his sixth appearance in the World Cup competition after being picked by fellow countryman Tyrrell Hatton.

The 2018 ISPS HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf will be contested at The Metropolitan Golf Club in Melbourne from November 21 to 25.

The 59th staging of the event will see the 56-player field vie for the largest prize-money purse in Australian golf, with USD 7 million on offer.

The 72-hole stroke play team format will feature Four-ball (best ball) play in the first and third rounds and Foursomes (alternate shot) play in the second and final rounds.

In 2016, S ren Kjeldsen and Thorbj rn Olesen shot a final-round 66 in foursomes at Kingston Heath to win Denmark’s first World Cup of Golf title by four strokes over the United States, China and France.