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Shubhankar emulates McIlroy for Joburg Open lead

83   //    09 Dec 2017, 21:08 IST
ShubhankarSharma - cropped
Shubhankar Sharma in action

Shubhankar Sharma emulated Rory McIlroy with another brilliant round at the Joburg Open as he stormed into a five-shot lead ahead of Sunday's finale.

Indian Shubhankar was one stroke back from overnight leader Tapio Pulkkanen at the start of Saturday but surged away with a seven-under 65 on the Firethorn course.

By continuing his strong form at Randpark Golf Club, the 21-year-old became the first player to be 20 under or better after 54 holes on the European Tour since McIlroy at the Dubai Desert Classic in 2015.

"I'm really happy. I wanted to play even though I shot a 10 under yesterday and it is always difficult to follow up on a low round. I'm really proud of the way I played today," said Shubhankar, who hit four successive birdies from the second hole.

"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."

The only person to better Shubhankar's display was Christofer Blomstrand, who had eight birdies and two eagles to rise up to second in sensational fashion.

Bogeys at the start and end of Blomstrand's back nine resulted in a 10-under 62, enough to keep him one shot ahead of James Morrison and Erik van Rooyen, while Pulkkanen slipped into a share of fifth with Marcus Armitage.

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