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WGC Mexico Championship | Shubhankar Sharma keeps hopes alive with two-shot lead

05 March 2018, 12:21 | Kristopher Drake

Shubhankar Sharma

Shubhankar Sharma

Will be updated. Updates photo links.

India's Shubhankar Sharma surprised a few people, but not himself, as he upstaged the biggest names in golf for a two-shot halfway lead at the WGC-Mexico Championship on Friday.

The 21-year-old Sharma entered the day with a two-stroke lead after shooting a 66 on Day 2.

As for reigning champ Dustin Johnson, he will need a strong finish to capture his third title at the event.

Shubhankar plays a shot from the eighth tee during the second round of the World Golf Championship on Saturday.

Sharma stretched his lead to as many as four shots at Chapultepec Golf Club until he started dropping a few shots late on the back nine.

That left him 18 holes away from capping off his incredible rise. With so much at stake where a victory over the games top stars will be worth United States dollars 1.7 million in prize money, an exemption onto the PGA TOUR through the 2020-21 season, 550 FedExCup points and starts in nearly every major championship including THE PLAYERS Championship this season, the talented Indian is looking forward to the final round.

Sharma is two ahead of some of the biggest names in contemporary golf on a crowded leaderboard.

Phil Mickelson played bogey-free for a 65 that will put him in the last group with Sharma and Tyrrell Hatton of England, who had a 64.

Mickelson, 47, who has not tasted victory since the 2013 Open at Muirfield, also did not drop a shot in his 65, while the Spanish pair of Garcia and Cabrera Bello both shot 69.

Another shot back was Dustin Johnson, the No. 1 player in the world and defending champion, who managed a 68 despite playing the par-5s on the back nine in 1-over.

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Instead of a hole-in-one, Lefty had to save for par.

He was at 13-under 200.

The best position for an Indian at a WGC was tied first for Jeev Milkha Singh after the first round at WGC at Doral in 2009.

It will undoubtedly go down as one of the most spectacular putts of the year.

"It's been a long time since my game's been back to this point", Mickelson said.

"I didn't really put any pressure on myself before I came here", Sharma said.

"I remember I was so inspired that I didn't sleep, I just went straight to the range and hit balls for two hours".

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

"There is a very good chance it will [happen tomorrow'], but if it doesn't it's going to happen soon because I am playing too well for it not to".

Sharma started the third round solidly with three birdies in the first six holes but was a mediocre one-over the rest of the way.



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