Saturday, 10 March 2018
I'm pretty happy, it was a mixed bag - Sharma

Shubhankar Sharma and Matt Wallace will share the lead heading into the final round of the Hero Indian Open after a day when DLF Golf and Country Club truly bared its teeth in New Delhi.

Emiliano Grillo had entered round three four shots ahead but he ended it two behind after a 78 that was indicative of the scoring on a day when just nine players fired under par rounds.

England's Wallace was one of those with a 70 and local hero Sharma joined him at seven under after a level par 72.

Scot Stephen Gallacher produced the round of the day with a 67 to sit a shot off the lead, one ahead of Argentinian Grillo, England's Andrew Johnston and Austrian Matthias Schwab.

Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex leader Sharma was five over after nine holes on Thursday but will have a vociferous home support behind him as he goes in search of a third win of the season on Sunday.

"I’m just looking forward to playing out there again," he said. "I just want to have fun. It’s the second week in the row I’m in the leading group. I’m going to draw from my experiences last week. I know it’s going to be a battle out there tomorrow and I’ll be ready for it.

"I kept telling my caddie that this is our home course, you can’t overpower this course. So, I told myself, just hang in there. I will hit a few bad shots and I understand that it’s all part of the game. You just have to stay patient."

Wallace gained his European Tour Membership with last season's wire-to-wire win at the Open de Portugal at Morgado Golf Resort and will be looking for victory number two.

"I’m very happy," he said. "There are some brilliant players up there. You know there is going to be a charge tomorrow and someone is going to play well. I just have to go out there and try to execute like I did today and see how it goes.

"I’m going to rock up tomorrow and do the same as I’ve done all week. It’s such a hard golf course that you have got to play well. I’ll try to get a good night of sleep tonight and go from there.

"Every hole is a test. Every hole is a double bogey waiting to happen. I just took every hole as it came and played it as well as possible. That eagle on nine was probably the highlight of my week – and year – so far."

Grillo bogeys on the first, second and fourth left the door open for the chasing pack and Johnston was the first to join him on top, chipping in for eagle on the fourth.

Wallace had chipped in for birdie on the second and after a dropped shot on the third he took advantage of the fourth and hit an excellent tee-shot into the fifth to get within a shot of the lead.

Sharma was also stalking and while he needed a chip-in to save par on the second, he holed a monster putt on the fifth. A three-putt brought a bogey on the next but a stunning approach to a tight pin on the seventh and a birdie on the eighth kept him right in the hunt.

Johnston found water on the eighth to leave Grillo back in the lead but Wallace drove the ninth green with an iron and then holed a brilliant double-breaker for an eagle and a one-shot lead.

Grillo got up and down from the side of the ninth green to join the lead once more and Sharma took an aggressive approach to the tenth and made it a three-way tie from seven feet.

Sharma found the nasty stuff off the 11th tee and dropped a shot after failing to get out, while a Wallace bogey on the 13th again had Grillo in the solo lead.

The 25 year old then double-bogeyed the 13th after going over the green, repeated the trick on the next after hitting a poor chip and then bogeyed the 15th to fall further back.

Wallace made an excellent par save on the 14th, holed a 15-footer on the next to lead but then gave the shot straight back on the 16th as Gallacher's 67 began to look very valuable indeed.

Another Wallace bogey followed on the 17th but Sharma put his second on the same hole into big trouble and a drop led to a double-bogey before a huge drive at the last set up a closing birdie.

Gallacher birdied the fourth and while he gave the shot back on the seventh, an eagle on the par five eighth saw him turn in 34. A birdie on the 13th was followed by a dropped shot on the next but a big finish with gains on the 15th, 17th and 18th saw him post the lowest round of the day.

Grillo birdied the last to keep his hopes alive while Johnston bogeyed the 15th and 17th in a 73.

Qualifying School graduate Schwab produced the only bogey-free round of the day as the Austrian made birdies on the third, fourth, fifth and 13th in a 68.

Spaniard Pablo Larrazábal and American Sihwan Kim were four under, a shot clear of Portuguese Ricardo Gouveia, American Paul Peterson and England's Aaron Rai.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1WALLACE, MattENG18-11
2JOHNSTON, AndrewENG18-11
3KIM, SihwanUSA18-8
T4SCHWAB, MatthiasAUT18-7
6GRILLO, EmilianoARG18-5

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