With nearly every golfer in the field seemingly going backwards on the DLF Golf and Country Club's Black Knight course, Sharma rode out a few blips to bring in an even par card and a share of the lead at seven under par 209 on the penultimate day of the for $1.75 Hero 54th Indian Open here on Saturday.
The 21-year-old Shubhankar (73-64-72-75), who came to the tournament with high expectations as the victor of two European Tour events in the last three months, slipped on the final day at his home course, the DLF Golf & Country Club, after struggling with his ball-striking.
Sharma, who managed a par round on Saturday, finished tied for ninth at the WGC-Mexico Championship last week and can be sure of passionate support on the final day of his home event. He was unable to find the momentum and it is always unfortunate when anyone runs into three double bogeys on a final day. "Ever since being three over through eight at the start of the week I've played some of the best golf of my life and to do it in that style at the end there capped it off. Beef really had a great round today because I was playing fantastic and thought I might have been a few more clear". However, his tournament unravelled after double bogeys at the fifth and seventh holes. I had a few bad swings at the start that put me off my rhythm. "Thereafter, it was all about trying to catch up with the lead".
Despite his lacklustre show, Sharma continues to lead the European Tour Race to Dubai and the Asian Order of Merit. So, I told myself, just hang in there.
Wallace and Johnston finishing at 11-under was tremendous at the challenging DLF Golf and Country Club.
"I am disappointed obviously. these things happen and it's not an easy course", said the 21-year-old Sharma. I'm very happy with the way I played.
"I also can't wait for the Masters".
It was soon tied at the top when Wallace thinned his third shot from the edge of the green into a back bunker at the 16th for his first dropped shot of the day and did well to make a bogey five.
A birdie on the first play-off hole trumped Johnston's par and so Wallace became a two-time European Tour victor. "I'll have to sit down with my coach Jesse Grewal and prepare my game-plan for the year's first Major which I have watched numerous times on television", Shubhankar added. Kaul finished as the best amateur in the field.
Anirban Lahiri (75), the 2015 victor and three-time champion Jyoti Randhawa (76) tied 32nd at four-over, while Khalin Joshi scored a poor 81 to stay tied 37.
Karandeep Kochhar came in tied 48th at nine-over-297 while Udayan Mane was placed 52nd at 11-over-299.