Antwerp, May 25 (PTI) Shubhankar Sharma shrugged off his recent disappointments with a stunning 5-under 67 in the first round of the KLM Dutch Open, placing him inside the top-5 at the DP World Tour event.
Sharma's round of 67 was his best in relation to par since his opening round of the year, when he shot a similar 67 at the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship where he finished tied-seventh.
Since then, Sharma has often produced a bunch of birdies but has also given away a lot of shots in bogeys. In the first round of the Dutch Open, where he was T-14 a year ago, Sharma had five birdies, an eagle hole out from the bunker and two bogeys.
So good and precise was Sharma's play that he holed a shot from the green-side bunker for an eagle on Par-5 fourth.
On the 11th, he came out from the rough with his second shot to land within an inch of the flag, and then on the Par-5 12th, his birdie putt from 45 feet stopped on the lip and all he got was a par.
On Par-4 14th, his second shot from 127 yards almost went in but he did get a birdie. He bogeyed the 15th and birdied the 17th for a healthy 67.
Sharma, who has already secured a spot in the 151st Open at Royal Liverpool in Hoylake this year, will begin his second round early.
India's other player in the field, Manu Gandas (71) was T-44 with four birdies against one bogey and one double bogey.
Sharma was four behind Spaniard Jorge Campillo who posted a brilliant nine-under opening round of 63 to take a three-stroke lead. The Spaniard, who won his third DP World Tour title at the Magical Kenya Open, made the most of calm morning conditions to race into the lead at Bernardus Golf.
He carded six birdies to make the turn in just 30 strokes before mixing one bogey with four more birdies coming in to set the early pace.
Campillo is currently inside the top-10 on the Race to Dubai Rankings following a stunning run of form. If he stays there at the end of the season, he will get a card to the PGA Tour.
The 36-year-old's win in Kenya came after a tie for fourth at the Hero Indian Open before adding top-10 finishes in Japan, Korea and Italy.
Fellow Spaniard Pablo Larrazábal shares second place on six under par with Frenchman Joël Stalter and England's Andy Sullivan, whose opening round contained two eagles, one of which was a hole-out from 181 yards.
Home favourite Joost Luiten is a shot further back in a group of seven players on five-under par. He carded seven birdies as he made an excellent start in his bid for a third victory in his national open following previous triumphs in 2013 and 2016.