It wasn’t easy, but 21-year-old Shubhakar Sharma held on to his two-stroke lead at the WGC Mexico City on Saturday.
He endured three bogeys after only having two combined in his first two rounds and still wound up with a 2-under 69. He looked like he might run away and hide with the lead after birdying three of the first six holes, but was just 1-over the rest of the way.
“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.”
There are five well-known players two strokes back of the Indian phenom: Spaniards Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera Bello, UK’s Tyrell Hatton and US’ Phil Mickleson. Those five are all ranked between 12th and 34th in the world. Sharma is 75th, but was 202nd just two months ago.
Hatton shot a 64 on Saturday and Mickelson a 65 on Saturday to forge the 5-way tie for second. The resurgent Mickelson recorded a flawless round with six birdies on Saturday. He’s made just three bogeys (one a double) through 54 holes so far.
Hatton was 5-under on the front nine and added two more on the back nine. He’s gone two straight rounds and 42 straight holes without a bogey.
Garcia and Cabrera Bello kept pace with Sharma by each shooting their own 69.
Sitting three strokes back is the #1 player in the world, Dustin Johnson, tied for sixth with three other players. Johnson had an eagle 3 on the 572-yard No. 6 en route to a 3-under 68.
PGA 2017 Player of the Year Justin Thomas is four strokes back at 9-under and all alone in 10th after a dazzling round of 62 on Saturday. A double bogey on No. 18 Friday is now looming very large for Thomas, who was 5-under on the front nine Saturday with an eagle and three birdies.