Sharma, looking forward to Hero Indian Open, is thrilled to have Gandas for company on DP World Tour
Gurugram, February 22, 2023: Shubhankar Sharma and Manu Gandas will be among the leaders of the Indian challenge at the US$ 2 million Hero Indian Open which tees off here tomorrow.
The two 26-year-olds both of whom have DP World Tour cards, grew up playing golf on the junior circuit since the age of 10, but have not got to play together much since turning pro. Now that Gandas has joined him, Sharma is visibly thrilled to have his friend for company on the Tour.
Sharma turned pro ten years ago at the age of 16 and moved to international Tours in Asia, then the DP World Tour (where he has won twice) and has even played a bit on the PGA Tour. Gandas turned pro in 2015, but did not find much success till last year.
Gandas won six times during a brilliant 2022 season on the TATA Steel Professional Golf Tour of India to top their Order or Merit. That success came right in time as the DP World Tour and the PGA Tour announced a strategic tie-up with the PGTI and Gandas was the first beneficiary of that.
The DP World Tour returns to DLF Golf and Country Club in New Delhi for the first time since 2019. Gandas last competed at his national open five years ago.
Sharma said, “I’m very happy that the event is back. It’s like a fifth major, I’ve said that countless times this week. It’s very, very special and I’m very happy it’s back, especially at DLF.
“This course is very special to me. This is where I played quite a lot from 2012 to 2016, around the time that I joined the Tour and it’s always great coming back. The course is in great nick and it’s slightly different to what it was three years ago. The bushes have grown, the trees have grown, so it’s definitely tighter. I’m very happy it’s back.
“It means a lot to have this event. I’ve been playing on the DP World Tour for four years now but quite a few (Indian) players are getting their first experience of proper international golf. It’s a great for them, they’re all very excited, a lot of good players have emerged in the last few years, and this is their first experience of international golf.”
Sharma was also excited about Gandas coming onto the Tour. “It will be great to have him around at the events. I have a lot of friends on the Tour, but it will be nice to have someone I know so well. It is also a great opportunity for him, just as it is for all of us, already on the Tour.”
Gandas is aiming to showcase the improvement he has made in his game since his last DP World Tour appearance on home soil.
After missing the cut in his first two starts of the 2023 Tour season, Gandas impressed on his way to finishing in a share of 28th place at last week’s Thailand Classic.
“I have been feeling good,” he said. “My game has been progressing bit by bit and I am looking forward to the week. I have been working on the shortcomings that I have had for a while and that has borne fruit for me.
“I feel at the end of the day that the increased attention doesn’t change anything because what I can control is my own game. If I keep doing that, I will be happy.”
Gandas loves this course as it is his home course. He said, “This is basically my second home,” he added. “I have grown up here and to have a National Open over here is a proud thing for us. The conditions are impeccable right now. The fairways are pristine, and the greens are rolling quite good so overall it is in great shape.
“For the DP World Tour to have this event back on their schedule will definitely help the sport grow in India and that is a good thing.”
There are 32 Indians in the field and that includes three-time Hero Indian Open winner, Jyoti Randhawa, and the two-time HIO winner, SSP Chawrasia.