Newport (Wales): India’s Shubhankar Sharma made a strong start but lost momentum before pulling things back for an erratic even-par 71 in the first round of the inaugural Celtic Classic golf tournament here.
Sharma, winner of two European Tour titles in 2018, is Tied-71st and needs a solid second round to avoid missing a third successive cut. Thomas Pieters held a one-shot lead on his return to golf following a superb first round 64.
Sharma birdied the third and fourth to be two-under through four holes, but he gave away those gains on fifth and sixth and turned in even par. Bogeys on the 10th and 14th put him at two-over, but he fought back with birdies on the 15th and 18th to get back to even par.
Pieters, a four-time European Tour winner, became a father for the first time to daughter Florence during the break caused by the coronavirus pandemic. He was one shot clear of England’s Toby Tree and Australian Jake McLeod, who shot 65 each.