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July 20, 2018

Shubhankar Sharma

Angus, Scotland, United Kingdom

SHUBHANKAR SHARMA: Par on the last, I'm definitely happy I made it. After I hit that tee shot on the 18th, I thought I just had to make par. A lot of people still have to play. My first aim was to hit the fairway on the 18th, then put it on the green and give myself a birdie opportunity. I hit a brilliant second shot from that lie towards five, six feet. Great that I made birdie, but I'm really proud of myself the way I fought after the 13th hole today.

Q. What did you think when you were standing on the six-foot putt there at the end?
SHUBHANKAR SHARMA: Nothing. I was just standing on the putt, I saw the line and my caddie Ricky told me, "There's no chance it's going to come from the left. If anything, it's coming from the right. Let's just putt and not think too much about it." We were on the clock, so we couldn't have taken too much time. I hit a straight putt, and thankfully it was from the right a little bit. It caught the left edge of the cup and rolled in.

Q. How sweet is the moment?
SHUBHANKAR SHARMA: After you make the putt, it's very sweet. Before the putt, it's very nerve wracking. Even after you hit the putt, these greens are so different. They become very bumpy when so many players play on it. So you hit the putt and you are just praying it just stays on the course, stays on the line. Even on the last line, it looked perfect. It looked like it might miss on the right, and then it just dived left on the end. Nervy moment for me till the end, but really happy that I could capitalize and play the way I did.

Q. Can we just go through the round. You started off really well. There was a very unfortunate bogey on the first one. Just tell us what happened over there. Did you think the sand was too wet?
SHUBHANKAR SHARMA: It was just plugged. It was just biting in the face. I had to do a brilliant shot to actually get it out. I hit a pretty good shot. It almost went out, but it rolled back in. I couldn't have done much from there. It was a bad plug lie. I think it was a good bogey in the end that I made. Even my bunker shot after that was not too good, but thankfully I could make that putt.

Looking at the start, I thought I played pretty well. 4th hole I got unlucky. Centre of the fairway, but it was in a deep divot. 6th hole, I thought I hit a good putt which should have gone in.

I thought I played well. Just those two silly bogeys on the 8th and 9th, which shouldn't have been. 8, I didn't hit a bad shot. I should have made the two-putt from the back edge. 9, just a bad drive. The good thing is I just kept grinding, made a great birdie on the 10th. 11th was great. 12 was a bad bogey.

After that, just to stay in there, tell myself you have birdie holes. Just keep playing the way you are. Really, really happy today.

Q. After 9, what was the thought process like?
SHUBHANKAR SHARMA: After 9, I was at plus-5. I didn't know where the cut was going to be at. First nine was tough for us. It was raining. It was windy. Just changing towels and changing gloves. Something I'm not used to that much. I've never played in rain and wind and being this cold. This is very new to me. So the front nine was definitely tough, but when I started the back, I just told myself I'll hit good shots now.

I think I found something on the 9th hole when I was putting, even though I missed the putt, I felt really comfortable with the putt, and I rolled it on the line with the last hole, which was strong, but it was still a good putt. After the 10th, I thought I putted really good. I just saw the line. I was just rolling it over what I saw, which doesn't happen too often, but it happened to me today.

On these greens especially, with it being so bumpy, you have to hit the putts really good. I'm really happy that I putted really well.

Q. One thing I noticed during the round is how comfortable you seem to be, even though the pressure was enormous. You joked with the crowd about whether he has put his morning alarm. You tried to kill a journalist. How comfortable were you? You were still managing to joke.
SHUBHANKAR SHARMA: You know, I was trying to be as comfortable as possible. I was trying to be as free as possible on the course, but inside I was nervous. It wasn't easy out there. Every shot was a struggle. But, you know, at the end of the day, you keep reminding yourself that almost like you're playing a tournament, playing a round back home. You have to just keep it that simple. If you let the pressure get to you, think about it as a major championship, you will mess it up. So I was just trying to be as calm as possible, just trying to have as much fun as possible, and really happy that I finished well.

Q. Can we just go through the birdies, the 10th, 12?
SHUBHANKAR SHARMA: First birdie on the 10th hole. I had a good drive after a long time. Drives before that weren't good, but a good drive there. After that, the second shot, 7 iron was pretty good to about 12, 13 feet, I think, left to right. Like I said, I'd found something in my putting on the 9th hole and hit a great putt which went dead centre.

13th hole again, a decent shot to about 20 feet left of the pin. Again, read the line perfectly, hit a great putt, centre cup.

Q. About 20 feet?
SHUBHANKAR SHARMA: Yeah, it was about 20 feet, yeah. 18, 20 feet.

The next hole, par 5 is all about hitting the fairway there. It's a pretty short par 5. I hit a good drive into the wind. I had about 180 to the front. Hit a decent shot but stayed just short, but two-putted from there, about 30, 35 feet off the green, and made a good two-putt there.

Then 18, obviously, was a great birdie. The tee shot, I think, was just -- I think it took a bad bounce to the left and was like kind of on an upslope and in the rough. But hit a great shot just the way I wanted it to come out, it just came out the perfect way.

Q. What did you hit?
SHUBHANKAR SHARMA: I hit a 9 iron. I hit 158 to the front. There was some grass behind the ball, so I tried to -- my first aim was to hit the ball first and try to hit a slight cut, and that's what happened. It just came out perfectly. As soon as I hit it, I knew it wasn't going to run too much, and it was just perfect.

Q. What does it mean to you to make the cut? You went from (inaudible) to making the cut now. What does it mean to you?
SHUBHANKAR SHARMA: I hope it gets in first. Yeah, hopefully it will, and I'm really happy that I've made the cut now. This is my favourite major championship, and this will be my first major cut if I do get in. Definitely a big moment for me, and I have my birthday tomorrow. So it will be the best birthday present.

Q. What's it been like?
SHUBHANKAR SHARMA: It's been great. I always imagined playing at The Open since I was a kid. This was one thing I wanted to do, really tee it up and just play in front of these wonderful crowds. So really happy. And you know I'm playing the weekend. So it's even better.

Q. What's the first time you ever saw The Open? Not a major, The Open.
SHUBHANKAR SHARMA: The Open, I think the first time I saw it was maybe early 2000s, 2003 or 2004, was the first time I saw an Open Championship. Before that, even before I started playing in 2001, no one knew about golf in our family. So we didn't really know how big this tournament was and that it's a major championship. We didn't really know much about that back then.

2004, maybe is the first time I saw it. But I remember when Tiger won in 2006. That is a very vivid memory in my head. I remember seeing that tournament all four days and I remember it was very much like this as well, and he hit irons all throughout and won. That would be my first prominent memory. I still remember that tournament.

Q. There's another great news in Indian golf today about you making the cut over here. The PGA TOUR has got the World Rankings status.
SHUBHANKAR SHARMA: Wonderful. Wonderful.

Q. So can you just tell us something about that and what it means to Indian golf.
SHUBHANKAR SHARMA: I think it's fabulous. I think last year was -- I think this year is the first year that they opened it, and I was all for it. I think India has some great players, and even the scores are pretty low. Tough courses, and people, the players end up shooting really low scores, even the cuts are pretty low. So I think it's truly one of the better tours in Asia now. If you had so many member that have come through -- everyone has come to the PGA TOUR.

So I think it's great we have world ranking points. It will just attract more and more sponsors, and it will help making India bigger and more and more blessed coming up.

Q. One year before the Olympics?
SHUBHANKAR SHARMA: Yeah, it's great news. I didn't think we were going to get the points so soon. It's so good that we finally got some points.

Q. You had great rounds, but with that strong conclusion to this round, how did that round feel playing under pressure?
SHUBHANKAR SHARMA: Definitely one of the best finishes I've had. I was at plus-5, and to make three birdies coming in, and the last three holes aren't the easiest at Carnoustie. Definitely that will rank at one of my best finishes. I had a bad finish at the U.S. Open this time. I was inside the cut line, and I finished bogey double and missed it, four-putted on the last. So that left a scar. But I am really happy I could get back the way I did today, and just to make the cut is wonderful.

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