Shubhankar Sharma keeps WGC-Mexico Championship lead as big names close in
Last Updated: 04/03/18 7:02pm
Shubhankar Sharma continued to set the pace with a two-under 69 in the third round of the WGC-Mexico Championship.
The 21-year-old from India had opened up a surprise two-shot lead at the halfway stage at the Chapultepec Golf Club and he coped admirably with the pressure of leading a star-studded field as he maintained his advantage on 13-under 200.
The Race to Dubai leader has some big names lurking behind him heading into the final round, though, with Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson, Tyrrell Hatton and Rafa Cabrera Bello heading the chasing pack on 11 under.
Defending champion Dustin Johnson is just one shot further back in a group of four on 10 under, while Justin Thomas charged into contention at nine under thanks to a course-record 62.
Sharma had eagled the opening 316-yard par-four in the first two rounds but had to settle for a birdie this time around despite finding the centre of the green with his drive.
Birdies at the third and sixth, after a couple of excellent iron shots, stretched his lead to four shots before a bogey at the eighth stalled his progress.
He then mixed two birdies with two bogeys on the back nine and was actually joined in the lead for a brief spell by Pat Perez after he had dropped his second shot on the 13th.
Sharma's third slip came at the 16th but he held his nerve to par the closing two holes, a tricky four-yard putt at the last a particular confidence-booster going into the final round.
Perez had surged up the leaderboard with seven birdies and just one bogey, but a poor finish, which saw the American bogey the 16th and double-bogey the 17th, after finding water off the tee, proved costly as he dropped back to 10 under.
Englishman Hatton and veteran American Mickelson both had flawless rounds as they stormed through the field with scores of 64 and 65 respectively.
Spanish duo Garcia and Cabrera Bello both started the day two behind Sharma and the gap remained the same as they signed for 69s.
Defending champion Johnson is firmly in contention after a 68, the highlight an eagle at the par-five sixth where he hit his 232-yard approach shot to seven feet.
The world No 1 is alongside fellow Americans Perez (68), Brian Harman (68) and Xander Schauffele (70) on 10 under.
Thomas, last week's Honda Classic champion, gave himself a chance of clinching back-to-back victories with his nine-under 62.
The 24-year-old American started off by eagling the par-four first and he then added eight birdies, with only one bogey at the 13th.
England's Ross Fisher provided the shot of the day with a hole-in-one at the par-three third, part of a two-under 69 which left him on five under and alongside Jon Rahm and Rickie Fowler among others.
Watch the final round of the WGC-Mexico Championship live on Sky Sports Golf from 5pm on Sunday.