India’s Shubhankar Sharma roared to a 5-stroke lead after shooting a 65 on Saturday at the Joburg Open.
He’s the first player to be 20-under after three rounds of an European Tour event since Rory McIlroy did so at the 2015 Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
This is just the 10th Euro Tour event for Sharma, but he’s clearly in the right place. He has made nine cuts in those 10 events and finished in the top 10 at the UBS Hong Kong Open two weeks back.
“I’m really happy,” he said. “I wanted to play even though I shot a ten under yesterday and it is always difficult to follow up on a low round. I’m really proud of the way I played today. I’m very pleased that I came to the Joburg Open. I had my visa but it has been a very long season so I was contemplating if I wanted to come here. I’m really happy that I did!
“I want to stay within myself and play against my course. I have a good lead but you saw some low scores today. Anyone can shoot a seven or eight under par. I need to stay calm and hit the right shots.
“I don’t want to change my strategy because I’ve played solid golf. There’s nothing much to change. You can’t play it safe because everything is in front of you. I’m going to be aggressive and won’t hit any stupid shots.”
In his wake, Sweden’s Christofer Blomstrand had a shot at a 59 down the back stretch, but had to settle for a 62 on his 26th birthday, not a bad present.