Shubhankar Sharma accepts special invitation to play in the Masters
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 06/03/18 5:40pm
In-form Indian star Shubhankar Sharma has accepted an invitation to compete in the Masters next month, Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley has announced.
Sharma is enjoying a sensational season on the European Tour, landing his maiden victory at the Joburg Open in December before adding another title at the Maybank Championship last month.
The 21-year-old, the youngest Indian player to win on Tour, rose to prominence on the worldwide stage at last week's WGC-Mexico Championship, where he held the halfway and 54-hole lead before slipping into a tie for ninth after a final-round 74.
Sharma's superb run of results have propelled him to 66th in the world rankings having ended 2017 outside the top 200, although he would have needed to break into the top 50 over the next fortnight to qualify for the Masters outright.
But he is now assured a debut appearance at Augusta National after being extended a special invitation from Mr Ridley, and he can now look forward to his first start in a major championship.
"Golf is a global game, and throughout our history we have extended invitations to deserving international players not otherwise qualified," Ridley said. "As his results have proven, Shubhankar Sharma is a remarkable young player, and we look forward to welcoming him to Augusta National in April."
Sharma will also become only the fourth player from India to tee up at the Masters, following in the footsteps of Jeev Milkha Singh, Arjun Atwal and Anirban Lahiri.
The field for the first major of the year will be finalised on Monday, April 2 following the Houston Open, with PGA Tour winners this season and anybody inside the top 50 in the world rankings not already exempt earning qualification.
The updated list of confirmed invitees for the 82nd Masters can be viewed here.