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Shubhankar Sharma: Five things to know about the rising talent

Shubhankar Sharma: Five things to know about the rising talent

Shubhankar Sharma held his nerves to the end and holds a two-shot lead going into the final round of the Mexico Championship in Mexico City.

The 37-year-old Englishman recorded this week's first hole-in-one with a 9-iron at the 157-yard par-3 third hole.

The Club de Golf Chapultepec features a drivable par 4 to start, but the par-4 second, although not long by today's standards, was not created to be reached in one shot.

That left him 18 holes away from capping off his fantastic rise. A victory in this World Golf Championship would be his third in his last eight starts and likely put him in the top 25.

There's also a group of big names looking to take the title.

Mickelson, who is coming off his most consistent stretch in years, having finished inside the top 10 in his last three starts, has played un-Phil-like golf for the first three days.

Mickelson is in a chasing pack which also includes Spaniards Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera Bello and England's Tyrrell Hatton, all of whom are on 11-under.

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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.

He was at 13-under 200. "I was very nervous in the morning, but very happy with the way I put it all together", Sharma said after sticking his approach to two feet for birdie at his final hole. It was his only non-par on the front nine, where he shot 33. "I'm very happy with that".

Despite recent victories in South Africa and Malaysia, and leading the European Tour's Race to Dubai standings, Sharma has yet to qualify for the first major of the year.

Reigning Masters champion Garcia fired a bogey-free 65 that included a 22-foot eagle putt at the par-5 11th and a 16-foot birdie at 18 to grab a share of second place.

Mikko Korhonen and Sam Horsfield are tied for second.

As for winning for the first time since the 2013 British Open? All of his previous wins have come on African soil. In his biggest test yet, the current No. 1 on the European Tours Race to Dubai and Asian Tours Habitat for Humanity standings will be grouped with five-time major victor Mickelson and Englands Hatton as he bids to become the youngest player to win a World Golf Championships tournament and only the second Asian after Hideki Matsuyama of Japan to do so.

Yet he proved in his third round that he is not averse to a battle as he showed when caught by the America Pat Perez before extending away again with a 70, featuring five birdies and two bogeys. Thomas said after making the shot. "I think it just pushes guys like me to play even better".


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