Super Shubhankar in shared lead at CIMB Classic

Super Shubhankar in shared lead at CIMB Classic

22-year-old golfer gives himself a chance to become only the second Indian to win a PGA Tour event.

Shubhankar Sharma was in the joint lead after 54 holes for the second time in a PGA Tour event, as he carded 6-under 66 to reach a cummulative 19-under (197) at the TPC Kuala Lumpur West course Saturday.

Shubhankar, who held sole lead at the end of 54 hole at WGC-Mexico, earlier this year, is tied with overnight co-leaders Gary Woodland (67) and Marc Leishman (67). Shubhankar had seven birdies and the day's lone bogey came after a gap of 21 holes since the second hole, his 11th hole on Friday.

That also means Shubhankar will play in the lead group of a PGA Tournament only the second time in his career. It is also the second time at the CIMB Classic, that an Indian player has had at least a share of the lead after 54 holes – Anirban Lahiri was leader by four shots after three days in 2015, when Justin Thomas came from behind and won the title.

A win on Sunday will seal Shubhankar's berth at the Augusta Masters, a spot on Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii and also the Asian Tour Order of Merit.

Only one Indian, Arjun Atwal has won a PGA Tour title, the Wyndham Championships in 2010, and the next best finish in a PGA Tour event has been T-2 by Lahiri at the Memorial in 2017. Lahiri was also T-3 at 2015 CIMB.

Gaganjeet Bhullar (71) had three birdies against two bogeys to be 6-under 210 and T-42, while Anirban Lahiri (68) finally had some putts falling with six birdies, but he dropped a shot each on seventh and 17th. Lahiri was 2-under and T-64th. Rahil Gangjee (73) was lying 77th at 5-over for three days.

Shubhankar's birdies came on the second, third, fifth and seventh and then 10th, 13th and 17th. He missed a couple of short birdie putts, including a four-footer on 16th.

"Yes, I am very happy. I got off to a flyer, front nine was great as I was 4-under through seven. On the back nine I made a lot of crucial par putts and missed a few coming in, but really happy with the way I played and hung in there."

He showed a lot of confidence, and talked about Sunday's plan.

"I'll just chill out, I won't really do much. I'll just go in, hang out probably with Rahil, maybe with Anirban, talk a little and just do normal stuff that I've been doing every day.

"Good thing is that I've been in this position before so I know what happens and what my mind goes through, so I'll just try and relax myself as much as possible. And the way I'm playing, I'm pretty sure I'll play well tomorrow as well."

The leading trio was two shots ahead of South African Louis Oosthuizen (65) and the first-round leader Bronson Burgoon (67).

The day's lowest card came from the 2009 Open winner, Stewart Cink, who brought home a 63 and is now T-7 alongside five others.

Two-time CIMB winner, Justin Thomas (69) was 12-under and seven shots off the lead on another high-scoring day, when as many as 60 of the 78 players shot in the 60s.