Sharma gets an invite from Mcilroy

Gurgaon: Shubhankar Sharma had yet another surprise in store for him, on Thursday, when he came to know that top golfer Rory Mcilroy would be happy to have the Indian youngster practise with him before the Masters in April.

"I am receiving one good news after another," said Shubhankar with a smile. "First, I received the invite to play in the Masters and now an opportunity to train with a legend. Obviously, I am happy... He is a great player and I would like to train with him. Let's see how things go," said Shubhankar.

Speaking on the sidelines of Valspar Championship, Mcilroy said he would be happy to have Shubhankar for a practice session.

"Yeah. Yeah... I got a game arranged on Monday and - yeah, of course I would love to have him join me for a practice round," said Mcilroy.

"I always try to play with some of the guys in a practice round. I don't know if they want to pick my brain or someone else's."

Mcilroy is a four-time Major champion and the 28-year-old Northern Ireland star remained the world No. 1 for 95 weeks.

The performance of Shubhankar in the recent past, especially in the World Golf Championship in Mexico where he finished tied ninth, has certainly impressed Mcilroy.

"I've been able to watch a little bit of him (Shubhankar) on television. Obviously he's won a couple times on the European Tour. He had a good chance to win and played in the final group last Sunday with Phil Mickelson.

"Playing in the Masters will be a great experience and my best advice for him is to just embrace the week and have fun and enjoy himself.

"The more you can do that, the more Augusta lends itself to letting you just play. If you just go out and play and be creative and sort of use your imagination, you can have a really great week.

"So it's great to see it and great Augusta accorded Shubhankar an invitation," Mcilroy said at Palm Harbor.

Shubhankar is ranked No. 66 in the world and has not officially qualified for the year's first Major championship.

He had opportunities to do so as a PGA Tour winner before the Masters or if he got into the top 50 in the week before the Masters, but Augusta National management extended him a special invite.

"After landing in India from Mexico, I was thinking about how I could have done better there on the last day. But when I received the invite to play the Masters, it really made me happy," said Shubhankar.


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