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Masters-bound Sharma rallies at Indian Open

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NEW DELHI – Shubhankar Sharma had wildly contrasting nines but recovered for a 1-over 73 in his opening round at the Indian Open on his home course Thursday, two days after receiving a special invitation to play in the Masters at Augusta.

Starting on the back nine at the tough DLF Golf and Country Club, Sharma shot 41 with three bogeys and a double-bogey. But he came back on his final nine to shoot 32 with four birdies and was six strokes behind the early leaders.

Full-field scores from the Indian Open

The 21-year-old Sharma held the 54-hole lead in his first World Golf Championship appearance last week in Mexico. He finished tied for ninth after a closing 74.

Sharma was at No. 462 in the world three months ago when he shot 61 in the second round and won the Joburg Open. He closed with a 62 last month to win the Malaysian Open, making him the only two-time winner on the European Tour this season.

Sharma, now ranked 66th, also leads the Race to Dubai on the European Tour.