Akron, Ohio: The presence of Anirban Lahiri and Shubhankar Sharma will make it the first time that two Indians have featured in the same WGC Championships. The duo will tee off in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on Thursday.
While, Lahiri plays his first WGC of the year, Sharma, just 21, features in a third successive WGC in his breakout year. Lahiri, after playing eight consecutive WGC Championships, since his maiden appearance HSBC in 2014, has missed the last six in a row. This will be his first WGC appearance since the WGC-Bridgestone invitational in 2016.
This year Lahiri has played just one Major, the Open, while Sharma has played all three Major and this is his third successive WGC.
Both Lahiri and Sharma, who are known to be close to each other, have different goals from what will be the last time the WGC will be held at Akron, Ohio and will move to Memphis next year.
Lahiri seeks to get to back to the Top-100 and Top-50 since ceding his position as the top world ranked Indian to Sharma recently, Sharma will hope to do well and keep his PGA TOUR dream alive at the Firestone Country Club.
The 22-year-old Sharma will make his debut on Thursday in the US$10 million showpiece headlined by title holder Hideki Matsuyama, World No. 1 Dustin Johnson, newly crowned Open Championship winner Francesco Molinari. As many as 29 golfers from the top-30 of the FedExCup standings are in the starting line-up.
The most awaited name in golf, the 14-time major winner Woods, will be playing in his first WGC event in four years. Lahiri said, “Its been a long time since I played a WGC, so I am really looking forward to that. It has been a great event and I have played it a couple of time before and I want to do well before it moves from Akron.”
Meanwhile, Sharma, who hit global headlines by leading the star-studded field at WGC-Mexico after 54 holes before finishing Tied-9th, is playing his third WGC event. He said, “I’m really looking forward to the event as I’ve watched it on TV over the years,”
Sharma impressed with a T9 at the WGC-Mexico Championship in March but has yet to replicate that success in seven other tournaments Stateside, with a T20 at the Fort Worth Invitational being his best.