Shubhankar Sharma will take a two shot lead into the final round after maintaining his advantage on day three of the WGC – Mexico Championship at Chapultepec Golf Club.
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.
Sharma 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.
The 21 year old from India 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.
Making his World Golf Championship debut this week, Sharma has been hugely impressive and will now face the biggest test of his young career as he looks to hold off a truly world class chasing pack led by Cabrera Bello, Garcia, Hatton and Mickelson.
World Number One Dustin Johnson, Brian Harman , Pat Perez and Xander Shauffele are three shots off the pace on ten under, with the in-form Justin Thomas just a shot further back after a brilliant, course-record setting nine under par 62.
Shubhankar Sharma: “Obviously a dream come true for me to be playing in this tournament and obviously leading after two days, that’s just fantastic. 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. Very, very happy that I could grind out a par on the last hole.
“Tomorrow will be a lot of fun. Obviously Phil is a legend in the game of golf and I’ve seen him on TV for as many years as I can remember. You know, I met him for the first time today and it’s great that I’m paired with him tomorrow. It will be a lot of fun.”
Rafa Cabrera Bello: “I think just if I keep playing the way I have the first few days, I have a chance. Obviously you need to hit it good off the tee. Can’t get away with missing too many fairways around here. And then you have to guess how far your ball’s flying with a combination of holing some putts, it’s going to be important. I’m sure tomorrow’s going to be some tricky pins, too.”
Sergio Garcia: “I felt like I played quite well. Obviously not as well as I played yesterday, which is not easy to do, but overall under the conditions, it was tricky today. I 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.
“It would be great to win my first WGC, I’m not going to lie. Obviously it’s something that I’ve been close to but I haven’t been able to win so it would be nice to do it. Still a long day to go tomorrow. We have to go out there, play great again and see. You know, some of the guys are playing unbelievable, too, so it’s not going to be easy. I’m going to need a good round, so we’ll see what happens.”
Tyrrell Hatton: “Obviously got off to a really good start and the game felt good. I felt comfortable with my swing, gave myself plenty of opportunities, and obviously nice to see some putts drop early on. Felt like I lost my swing a little bit towards the back nine, just didn’t hit it as good and obviously less opportunities. So overall very happy with 7 under today and hopefully I can have another good one tomorrow.
“When you win, obviously you get confidence from that, so I’m just taking that forward into these events. I haven’t done too badly in the WGCs that I’ve played so far, it’s only maybe the majors that have been a let-down for me. So hopefully that will change this year. I’ll certainly try my best to improve that record and play a few more weekends.”
Phil Mickelson: “It’s been a long time since my game’s been back to this point. I’m back playing some of my best golf again. It will start to click and get better and better as the year goes on. My swing is back on plane. It’s starting to come together. I think whether it happens tomorrow or not, very good chance it will, but if it doesn’t, it’s going to happen soon because I’m playing too well for it not to.”