Shubhankar Sharma reaches scoring milestone in Round 3 of Joburg Open

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Shubhankar Sharma reaches scoring milestone in Round 3 of Joburg Open

Euro Tour

Shubhankar Sharma reaches scoring milestone in Round 3 of Joburg Open

Shubhankar Sharma may not go on to win the $1.2 million Joburg Open, but his name will always be linked with Rory McIlroy’s.

Sharma is the first player since the four-time major winner to reach 20 under par through 54 holes in a European Tour event. McIlroy recorded the feat during the 2015 Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

The Indian has reached that total in Joburg without really breaking sweat. He added a 65 to his second round 61 and takes a five-shot lead into the final round over Christofer Blomstrand. The Swede returned a 10-under 62 to reach 15 under. Not a bad way to celebrate his 26th birthday.

England’s James Morrison and home favorite Erik van Rooyen are tied for third at 14 under.

Sharma is playing in just his 10th European Tour event. He’s only missed the cut in one of them, and is a man in form. He placed 10th in the Hong Kong Open two weeks ago. 

 “It is always difficult to follow up on a low round,” Sharma said. “I’m really proud of the way I played today.”

The 21 year old wasn’t sure if he was going to play in Johannesburg. It’s turned out to be a good decision.

“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 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.”

If Sharma is looking for inspiration, then he should note that McIlroy went on to win in Dubai.

Even if Sharma doesn’t win then he can grab a spot in the Open championship at Carnoustie. The top three players not otherwise exempt will gain spots into the third major of the next year.

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