tiptrot.com March 21, 2018

Bland Strong But Sharma Surprise Leader In Mexico

05 March 2018, 12:25 | Susie Olson

Rahm won earlier in the season at the Career Builder Challenge

Rahm won earlier in the season at the Career Builder Challenge

Shubhankar Sharma shot a 5-under 66 to hold a 36 hole lead at the WGC-Mexico Championship.

The Spanish duo of Sergio Garcia (65) and Rafa Cabrera Bello (67) were in a share of second on Friday, with American Xander Schauffele (68) on nine under.

Sharma hit a 3-wood that landed on the green and settled 2 feet away for an eagle on the opening hole at Chapultepec Golf Club.

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"But I put in a lot of work to get my yardages dialled in and I think that's very important here".

"I'm really happy that I'm playing at such a high level and playing with all these great players". He finished with three straight birdies for a 5-under 66. He has won twice on the European Tour this season and is out to improve from his current 75th in the world to a top 50 spot that would see him into the Masters.

"The only two bogeys I made were three putts".

Sharma, the only two-time victor on the European Tour this season who leads the Race to Dubai, is No. 75 in the world.

Sharma's WGC debut comes after European Tour wins last December at the Joburg Open and last month in Malaysia at the Maybank Championship.

Sharma said he consistently found the fairways during the round and is happy with his drive. "I couldn't be in a better situation. I just try and concentrate on the success, and just let things go".

Leader Louis Oosthuizen headed Xander Schauffele, Sharma and Chris Paisley by a stroke on a day when defending champion Dustin Johnson hit a 69 that included a near ace at the 17th, his ball landing beyond the pin and spinning back nearly into the hole.

Schauffele had six birdies in his 65 while Sharma waited out a late lightning delay and birdied his final hole, the ninth, to join the group sharing second.

An eagle on Friday at the short par-four first hole, where he drove the ball to inside two feet for a tap-in, changed that and bogeys at the next two holes proved minor setbacks.

Now ranked 75th in the world, he has only four weeks left to move into the top 50 and punch his ticket to Augusta.

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