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July 21, 2019

Shubhankar Sharma

Portrush, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

Q. Many happy returns for the day.

Q. Saved the best for the last?
SHUBHANKAR SHARMA: Yeah, played pretty good today. Especially that finish on 18 was pretty special. Really happy with how I played.

Q. How long was that putt?
SHUBHANKAR SHARMA: 45 feet. Had to be more than 40 feet.

Q. Talk about the round.
SHUBHANKAR SHARMA: Made a bogey on the first hole, I was in the center of the fairway, just hit a poor shot to the left and had a chip from there. Made 2-putts.

After that, just played pretty solid. Made birdie on the second hole. Driver, 3-wood, on the green, had an eagle putt.

Third one I made a birdie. Next birdie came on the 8th.

Then on 13, decent iron shot to about 20, 25 feet, made the putt.

Then bogeys on the 14th and 16th. 14 I was just on the right edge and didn't hit a good putt, left it short. And left the next putt short as well.

Made a birdie on the 15th, made about an 18-footer, 15- to 18-footer.

16, again, hit a decent shot to that left edge. Had a good chip to about three feet. Left-to-right putt, just couldn't make that.

Pretty happy with the way I finished the last two holes. 17 was playing pretty tough today, into the wind. I had a 5-iron in as opposed to a 30-yard chip shot yesterday -- day before, actually. It's a different golf course right now.

So pretty happy with the way I played 17 and 18. Almost holed my putt on the 17th. And then 18 was the icing on the cake.

Q. In the whole context of the tournament, I'm sure you must be a little disappointed, but how special is it to go out and shoot 3-under in a major championship round?
SHUBHANKAR SHARMA: It's very special. Especially to come back after that poor round yesterday.

To be honest, I feel like I had a great tournament. Just the back nine on Saturday. So just the back holes. Apart from that, I played pretty well. There was nothing wrong with the way I played. I didn't really putt as well as I would have wanted to. But I made a few good putts today so pretty happy.

Q. Have you ever had a thousand people singing "Happy Birthday" plus three journalists?
SHUBHANKAR SHARMA: No, I'm not used to doing much on my birthday, but the last two birthdays have been very special. Last year I was in The Open as well. I was in a restaurant and the whole restaurant got up and sang "Happy Birthday" for me. Now to see the grandstand singing it, it's very, very special. And then to make that putt, to just hear that, it's always special playing The Open. And this is just -- I couldn't ask for a better thing.

Q. When you started today what was the mindset you had?
SHUBHANKAR SHARMA: I was just trying to erase the memories from yesterday. Because after the round yesterday I came to the range. There was nothing wrong with the game; it was just my mind, which had gone off yesterday in the back nine and I just couldn't see a starting line off the tee.

You can't afford to do that especially on this back nine. It's not easy. It's very penal. I knew there was nothing wrong. But I spent some time, about half an hour, on the range and I spent about half an hour putting. There was nothing wrong. It was just a mental thing.

So I came in the morning today with a fresh mind. I was just happy, got a lot of messages from friends and family. And then wanted to go out and enjoy. There was no expectation, to be honest. I was happy going out early because the weather seems to be getting pretty bad now. I just wanted to post a decent score, and I think I did that.

Q. It must be nice playing with Kiradech.
SHUBHANKAR SHARMA: Yes, he's a very good friend. We chatted a lot today. There was nothing wrong with the pace, nothing at all. It was just a very easy day, to be honest. Always nice playing with him. I've known him from the Asian Tour. Hopefully I can join him on the PGA Tour.

Q. What do you tell yourself after an experience like this?
SHUBHANKAR SHARMA: To be honest, you just have to believe that you can do it. Golf is a very -- it's a very different sport compared to other sports. Major Championship golf is very different from normal golf. The way the course is set up.

Yesterday I didn't really hit too many bad shots, but you're dead there, you have no shot. I think it's just about belief. And I played The Open twice now. And I definitely feel like I have the game. I can play. I played fairly decent the first two days.

So it's just about going and playing four good rounds. And at the end of the day, it's just a golf tournament. If you don't really think about it as a major or something really big and you don't have too many expectations, you just go and play, anything is possible.

In the future, I'll definitely do better and I'm sure I'll play many more of these tournaments.

Q. (Inaudible.)
SHUBHANKAR SHARMA: It's just golf in general is definitely picking up. For me as a kid I was a lot into golf so that was never a problem. I did grow up watching The Open, staying up all night to watch the tournaments in America, the Masters, the U.S. Open, the PGA. So for me that was never a problem.

But I feel like this is definitely changing now. We have so many more players now on the international stage. We have the PGA Tour, the European Tour, the Asian Tour, and we're doing really well. There's definitely more exposure to juniors now compared to 20 years ago, 20, 25 years ago.

And even when I was growing up I had access to the Internet and everything and whatever I wanted to watch. I definitely feel like we're headed in the right direction. Exposure is not a problem. I think kids have enough exposure.

It's just about coming and playing. You have to play these conditions. You have to play them to understand what golf is, especially links golf and golf in America. That kind of exposure is obviously missing, and for that you just have to get out and play. And apart from that, the Internet and the media, they do a great job of exposing all the kids in juniors to it.

Q. What's the next tournament now for you?
SHUBHANKAR SHARMA: I have three weeks off and then I have -- I'll go and play in Columbus.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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