Mexico City, February 20: Shubhankar Sharma, who set the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship alight with a world-class performance over the first 54 holes before settling for Tied-ninth place, is all set for another good showing at the event, which begins on Thursday.
Coming after a series of modest performances in 2019, the 22-year-old who was the Asian Tour Player of the Year in 2018, feels he has the game to win at the very highest level. The challenge now is to produce his best stuff at the right time and right place.
“I know if I can play my best stuff, I can win anywhere. It drives me every day to try to get back into the winner’s circle,” said Sharma, a two-time winner on the Asian Tour and European Tour.
Sharma was in lead after the second and third rounds at Club de Golf Chapultepec last year on his WGC debut before finishing T9. He was also the co-third leader in the PGA TOUR’s CIMB Classic in Malaysia in October, finishing T10.
“Having been close I know I can contend. Now it is a question of finishing it off. But if I can get close, I can also get over the line,” he feels.
“This week’s course suits me. A win will make very happy but I don’t want to think about what I want to finish. I just want to try to get my best golf out.”
Sharma adds, “To be honest, acceptance is really important. You can never have your top game every week, probably only one or two weeks you can play your best golf. That means whatever that is working, you have to make use of it. Course management comes into play, short game is very important and you can win tournaments at 80 or 90 percent of your capabilities. The mindset is very important, you have to be positive and every time a player wins, you get into that mindset as it’s all about confidence.”
Sharma seemed to short on realtime game after missing the cuts in two of the three European Tour events. So, he turned to a domestic Indian Tour event and finished T-2. “I didn’t plan to play but decided to do so as I wanted some match practice. I had a good week and got some confidence out it. I feel pretty fresh this year and I’m feeling good about my game,” said Sharma.
Sharma arrived in Mexico City last Saturday evening in an effort to overcome jetlag early and acclimatize to the altitude change where the Chapultepec course is some 7,600 feet above sea level, resulting in golf balls flying farther.
“I spent the whole of Monday figuring out how far the ball will travel and to get the yardages right. I played 18 holes in practice today (Tuesday) and will play another nine on Wednesday to get ready. It feels great being back here, a lot of good memories, said Sharma.
Phil Mickelson will defend his title this week against a stellar cast which includes 2017 FedExCup Champion Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Tiger Woods, who is making his first competitive appearance in Mexico.
“Whenever you play in a big event and against a stronger field, it gives you more opportunities to showcase what you have,” said Sharma, who plays the first two rounds with Matt Wallace and Cameron Smith.
“Last year, I played in a lot of big events and those experiences get into the memory bank and helps make you a better player. I’m very comfortable playing against the big boys now.”