Kuala Lumpur, October 13: India’s Shubhankar Sharma put himself in prime position for his first PGA Tour victory with a third round 66 at the CIMB Classic, jointly topping the leaderboard on 19-under-par with second round co-leaders Gary Woodland of the United States and Australia’s Marc Leishman who shot matching 67s.
South African star Lois Oosthuizen and American Bronson Burgoon are two shots adrift after carding 65 and 67 respectively.
Sharma is bidding to become only the second player from India to win on the PGA Tout, following Arjun Atwal who won the 2010 Wyndham Championship. The 22-year-old won the Maybank Championship at Saujana earlier this year and enjoys strong support from the local galleries.
“Asia is our home and it’s always good when you’re playing well in front of home crowd. It was evident today I got a lot of support from people who came out and also on the 18th when I got a good ovation. So I’m really happy that I’m back and I’ll give it my best tomorrow,” said Sharma.
Sharma led after the second round and third rounds at the WGC-Mexico Championship in February before finishing T9, which is his career best finish on the PGA Tour from 11 starts.
“I know tomorrow it’s an open tournament, it’s anyone’s tournament tomorrow … so it’s all about getting off to a good start and just trying to go as low as possible. Anything is possible until the 18th hole tomorrow, so I’m not going to think too much about what is going to happen and just try to make birdie as much as possible and we’ll see what happens in the end,” he noted.
Malaysia’s Ben Leong lies T38 on seven-under-par after a third round 71, while compatriot Jeremiah Kim Leun Kwang is in 78th spot on 14-over-par.
“I had a good start, struggled a bit on the back nine again. I don’t know, it’s becoming a trend now. Under-par on this golf course is always good. One more day to go tomorrow, so hopefully I can push up the leaderboard,” said Leong, who was three-under-par on the front nine and two-over coming in.
Round 3 scores (Top 10 and ties)
197 (-19) – Gary Woodland 69-61-67, Marc Leishman 68-62-67, Shubhankar Sharma 67-64-66
199 (-17) – Louis Oosthuizen 66-68-65, Bronson Burgoon 63-69-67
200 (-16) – Austin Cook 64-68-68
201 (-15) – Stewart Cink 68-70-63, Charles Howell 69-67-65, Chesson Hadley 67-68-66, JB Holmes 67-67-67, Emiliano Grillo 66-68-67, Nick Watney 66-67-68