Sharma upstages big names to take halfway lead in Mexico

  • Sharma upstages big names to take halfway lead in Mexico

Sharma upstages big names to take halfway lead in Mexico

A gutsy round from Adam Bland has the likeable left hander in position to contend at the WGC event in Mexico where India's Shubhankar Sharma is the unexpected leader at the halfway mark.

The 21-year-old debutant produced a brilliant display to move to the summit of the standings at the Club de Golf Chapultepec.

He was at 11-under 131, two ahead of Masters champion Sergio Garcia, Xander Schauffele and Rafa Cabrera Bello.

Sharma entered the week already ranked first on the European Tour after two early-season victories but it would be fair to suggest he was not a name on everyone's lips pre-tournament. Another birdie, this time from 24 feet on Par-4 12th saw him move further up. This son of an army colonel, Sharma turned pro when he was 16 and has learned the ropes the hard way.

Despite missing the cut by one stroke in Oman and Qatar over the past fortnight, Sharma produced a flawless display which his caddie Gurbaaz Mann, a former Asian Tour player himself, described as "complete".

"I'm really pleased with the way I played". "I'm really happy I'm playing at such a high level with all the great players out there". He will have to fight off numerous top players in the world.

"I didn't really put any pressure on myself before I came here", Sharma said. "The little bogeys I made were three-putts".

"Practising with all these good players on the range, [Jordan] Spieth was right behind me, and after a couple shots just stepped back and watched and then Dustin [Johnson] replaced him, so it's like I couldn't ask for anything better".

Having made a ideal start by driving to a couple of feet on the reachable first and converting for eagle, Sharma three-putted the second and third for consecutive bogeys.

Sharma has an opportunity to become only the second player to win his US PGA Tour debut after Jim Benepe at the 1988 Western Open.

The 2010 Open champion landed his 230-yard approach shot at the par-five 15th five feet from the pin and rolled in the putt for an eagle that gave him a lead he wouldn't relinquish."I'm very confident with my driver at the moment", Oosthuizen said.

"I have a lot of confidence going into the weekend", Johnson said.