Shubhankar Sharma admits it is a dream come true to be taking a two shot lead into the final round after maintaining his advantage on day three of the WGC – Mexico Championship at Chapultepec Golf Club.
The 21 year old from India has enjoyed a remarkable rise in recent months, winning the Joburg Open in December and last month's Maybank Championship to top the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex.
Sharma now becomes the youngest player to lead after 54 holes of a World Golf Championships event after a third round 69 left him 13 under par on his WGC debut.
England's Tyrrell Hatton shot a blistering 64 to move into a share of second, alongside American Phil Mickelson and Spanish pair Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera Bello.
“Obviously a dream come true for me to be playing in this tournament and obviously leading... that's just fantastic,” said Sharma.
“Really happy with the way I played today, stuck in there. Obviously made a few mistakes on the greens but the greens are tough this week so I think everyone's making a few mistakes. So I wasn't too hard on myself.”
Sharma was not fazed by Garcia catching him on his overnight score of 11 under before he had a chance to complete the opening hole.
The Spaniard began the day with back-to-back birdies but Sharma, having eagled the driveable opener in both of the first two rounds, made a birdie from seven feet to regain the outright lead.
Garcia bogeyed the third after missing the green on the par three, while on the same hole Sharma hit a superb tee shot to six feet and converted.
Sharma briefly went four clear when he reached the par-five sixth in two and birdied, but failed to get up and down on the eighth as he dropped a first shot of the day.
Birdies on the 11th and 14th were cancelled out by further bogeys on the 13th and 16th, but Sharma did well to avoid dropping another shot at the last.
Having seen his approach fall in the bunker after clipping a tree, Sharma splashed out to 13 feet and made the putt for par.
Hatton made seven birdies in a flawless 64 and is looking for more of the same on Sunday.
“I'm just going to go out there and try to play as well as I can, try to shoot another low one and see what happens,” he said.
Mickelson signed for a 65, while compatriots Cabrera Bello and Garcia both went round in 69.
“I felt like I played quite well,” said Garcia. “Obviously not as well as I played yesterday, which is not easy to do, but overall under the conditions, it was tricky today.
“Hit some good putts that unfortunately didn't go in, but I managed to shoot a couple under on the last five or six holes, which is a nice way to finish.”
|T3||CABRERA BELLO, Rafa||ESP||18||-15|