Shubhankar Sharma held his nerve to the end and held a two-shot lead going into the final round of the Mexico Championship.
Now the 21-year-old from India has one last round to hold off a few of golf’s biggest names.
Sharma stretched his lead to as many as four shots Saturday at Chapultepec Golf Club until he started dropping a few shots late on the back nine. After clipping a tree and going into the bunker on the 18th, he holed a 15-foot par putt for a two-under 69.
That left him 18 holes away from capping off his amazing rise. Just three months ago, Sharma had yet to win a tournament outside India’s developmental circuit, didn’t have a European Tour card and was No. 462 in the world. A victory in this World Golf Championship would be his third in his last eight starts and likely put him in the top 25.
His biggest test might come from the names on the leaderboard.
Phil Mickelson played bogey-free for a 65 that will put him in the last group with Sharma and Tyrrell Hatton of England, who had a 64. Also two shots behind were Masters champion Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera Bello, who each had a 69.
Another shot back was Dustin Johnson, the No. 1 player in the world and defending champion, who managed a 68 despite playing the par 5s on the back nine in one over.
Sharma, the only two-time winner on the European Tour this year who leads the Race to Dubai, didn’t blink.
Even so, there was some emotion packed into those two short fist-pumps when his par putt dropped on the final hole.
He was at 13-under 200.
Mickelson, coming off three straight top 10s for the first time since 2009, is in his best position yet. His drivers aren’t as wild, he is making more key putts to keep the round going and his iron game is solid as ever.
Steve Stricker gives up Cologuard Classic lead
Steve Stricker lost the Cologuard Classic lead Saturday when he drove into the water on the par-five 18th in a closing double bogey.
A year after losing a chance to win the event in his PGA Tour Champions debut when his three-wood went left into the water on the final hole, Stricker did it again Saturday.
Stricker ended up with a three-under 70, leaving him a stroke behind Tommy Tolles with a round left on Omni Tucson National’s Catalina Course. Tolles saved par on 18 for a 70 after following Stricker into the water
Tolles had an 11-under 135 total.
Scott Dunlap, tied for the first-round lead with Tolles, was tied with Stricker at 10 under after a 71.
Rocco Mediate (65) and Doug Garwood (68) were nine under.
Stricker finished behind Tom Lehman last year, blowing a two-shot lead on the final three holes. The 12-time PGA Tour winner tied for second two weeks in Florida in the Chubb Classic, his fifth top-three finish in seven career senior starts.
Mike Small, the University of Illinois coach playing on a sponsor exemption, followed his opening 66 with a 73 to drop into a tie for 10th at seven under. Lehman was three under after a 72, and Bernhard Langer had a 77 to drop to one under.
Nelly Korda holds one-stroke lead at LPGA Singapore
Nelly Korda shot a seven-under 65 Saturday to take a one-stroke lead at the LPGA Tour’s Women’s World Championship after Danielle Kang made her first bogeys of the tournament to slip back into second place after three rounds.
Korda, whose sister Jessica won the LPGA event in Thailand last week, had eight birdies and one bogey as she finished on 15-under 201 heading into the final round at the Sentosa Golf Club.
Kang started the day leading by four strokes and finished trailing Korda by one after a 70. She dropped her first shot of the tournament on the 15th after going 50 holes without making a bogey, then made another bogey on 18.
Brooke Henderson had a bogey-free 65, matching Korda for the low round of the day, to join Minjee Lee (68) in a tie for third at 11-under.
George Coetzee leads Tshwane Open
George Coetzee opened a two-shot lead heading into the final round of the Tshwane Open after a three-under 68 Saturday.
The overnight leader fired five birdies and two bogeys in his home city — and on the course where he’s a member — to move to 14 under overall.
Mikko Korhonen and Sam Horsfield are tied for second.
Korhonen kept up the pressure with a 69 at Pretoria Country Club to go 12 under. Horsfield shot up the leaderboard with a seven-under 64 that started with four straight birdies. Coetzee is looking for a fourth European Tour title and a second at the Tshwane Open after winning this event in 2015. All of his previous wins have come on African soil.