12/9/2017 6:55:00 PM

Flawless Sharma takes five-shot Joburg Open lead

Flawless Sharma takes five-shot Joburg Open lead

Johannesburg: Indian Shubhankar Sharma fired a flawless 65 Saturday to build a five-shot lead after three rounds of the Joburg Open at Randpark Golf Club in Johannesburg. 

The 21-year-old, who is ranked 462 in the world, scored seven birdies over the par-72 Firethorn track in warm, partly overcast conditions and did not drop a shot.

Sharma rattled off four consecutive birdies from the second and had another at the ninth for an outward half of 31 on the suburban course.

He also birdied 14 and 15 before saving par at the final hole with a superb bunker shot and single putt in the tri-sanctioned European Tour, Asian Tour and South African Sunshine Tour event.

The incentives for Sharma to score a maiden senior tour victory include a place in the 2018 British Open field at Carnoustie next July. 

Sharma recorded rounds of 69, 61 and 65 for a total of 195 -- 20 under par overall -- and is within sight of the record overall winning score for the Joburg Open of 27 under.

"I'm really happy," said the Indian who is attempting to succeed South African Darren Fichardt as Joburg Open champion. "I was really pleased with my reading of the greens, and I hit approach shots pretty close, which helped me make a very good start."

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