Shubhankar Sharma produced a gutsy six-under-par 66 to share the third round lead on Saturday and put himself in a position which can make him the first Asian to win the coveted $7 million CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur.
Shot of the day came from him on the par-3 eighth where he saved a par via a chip-in after his tee-shot missed the green on the 203-yard hole, that save changed the scenario on the leaderboard.
The event started in 2010 has seen only the U.S. players take it home every time for past eight times and with Sharma, in the mix, this might change for the first time. He is joined by Gary Woodland, a two-time runner-up of CIMB Classic (2013-2014), won by Ryan Moore both the times and the Australian Marc Leishman. They all are tied for the lead at 19-under 197.
In his short time on the PGA TOUR Sharma has played with both of his competitors and knows well of them, he shared his group with Woodland at The Open and played a practise round with Marc Leishman at the WGC-Bridgestone in Akron, Ohio.
The Habitat for Humanity leader will enter the final 18 holes with high confidence in the country where he won his second Asian Tour title in February. This will be the second time in 2018 Sharma is in contention for a PGA TOUR title. He led by two shots heading into the final round of the WGC- Mexico Champion before settling for tied ninth.
This is Shubhankar Sharma’s first appearance at the CIMB Classic. He will be aiming to become only the second Indian player to win on the PGA TOUR after Arjun Atwal won the 2010 Wyndham Championship.
Atwal had this to say for Shubhankar –
I really hope he kicks ass!! Really pulling for shubu!!!
— Arjun Atwal (@Arjunatwal) October 13, 2018
Sharma made just 25 putts today, the lowest in three rounds, despite finding only 13 fairways today. His co-leader Woodland shot a 61 yesterday and matched Justin Thomas’s second round score in 2015. The best Asian finisher at the CIMB Classic was Hideki Matsuyama in 2016 where he finished in second place. Lahiri and Kiradech were tied third in 2016 and 2013 respectively.