India's Shubhankar Sharma holds 36-hole lead at the WGC-Mexico Championship
After carding a 65 on Thursday at Club de Golf Chapultepec, Shubhankar Sharma said he was "very nervous" early in his round, understandable for a 21-year-old playing in his first World Golf Championship. One would imagine backing up that round on Friday would make the rising star from India a bundle of nerves once again.
But Sharma looked comfortable from the start in the second round of the WGC-Mexico Championship, firing a 3-wood to two feet at the 316-yard par-4 first hole and tapping it in for eagle. He added five more birdies and two bogeys en route to a five-under 66, giving him the 36-hole lead at 11-under par 131.
"I just kept the ball in play, all throughout the day" he said. "The only two bogeys I made today were three-putts."
Those two dropped shots came immediately after Sharma's opening eagle, but he settled down quickly, making seven consecutive pars before catching fire on the final nine and shooting a five-under 31. While he's still a new face for fans of the PGA Tour, Sharma has already captured two European Tour titles this season, placing him atop the tour's Race to Dubai. Those two victories helped him rise to No. 75 in the Official World Golf Ranking, which earned him a spot in this week's field.
"I didn't really put any pressure on myself before I came here. I expected to play well, I was playing well this season, and I'm really happy that I'm playing at such a high level and playing with all of these great players," he said. "So, I try to enjoy myself as much as possible out there, and this is the best position I could have been in. I've definitely proven to myself that I belong here, and that I can play with the big boys."
Some of those big boys chasing him include a pair of Spaniards, Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera Bello, who are two back at nine-under 133. Garcia's six-under 65 tied for the low round of the day and featured four birdies, an eagle and no bogeys. Cabrera Bello shot a four-under 67 with four birdies, an eagle and two bogeys.
They're joined by last season's PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele, who fired a three-under 68. Seven players are at seven-under 135, including world No. 1 Dustin Johnson thanks to a second-round five-under 66.