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Sharma battles to hang on to share of the lead with Wallace

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Shubhankar Sharma of India kept his emotions in check and carded an even-par 72 to grab a share of the lead with England’s Matt Wallace at the US$1.75 million Hero Indian Open on Saturday.

The 21-year-old stayed patient throughout the entire round. Sharma, a two-time Asian Tour winner, dropped five shots today which included a double bogey at the 17th hole. But, responded with five birdies to get to the top of the leaderboard on seven-under-par 209 at the DLF Golf and Country Club.


Wallace carded a 70 to share first place with Sharma. He scored an eagle and four birdies against four bogeys. The pair will go into Sunday with a one-shot lead over Stephen Gallacher of Scotland, who is in lone third place after carding a 67.

Sharma shared, “It was very windy today. The first two days were surprisingly calm. The course played really tough and I’m very happy with a 72. It was a mixed bag as everything happened. I holed out at the second, made a few good birdies and got a bad bounce on the 17th.

“I’m very pleased with the birdie at the last, which allowed me to grab a share of the lead. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

“I kept telling my caddie that this is our home course. You can’t overpower this course. So, I told myself, just hang in there. I will hit a few bad shots and I understand that it’s all part of the game. You just have to stay patient.

“I’m just looking forward to playing out there again. I just want to have fun. It’s the second week in the row I’m in the leading group. I’m going to draw from my experiences last week. I know it’s going to be a battle out there tomorrow and I’ll be ready for it.”

Emiliano Grillo of Argentina, the halfway leader, had a day to forget as he signed for a 78. He is in tied-fourth with Austria’s Matthias Schwab (68) and England’s Andrew Johnston (73).

Crowd favourite Johnston was scrambling throughout Saturday. The Englishman did not score any birdies but kept pace with the leaders with an eagle on the fourth hole, as well as numerous up-and-downs and long putts for pars.

Sihwan Kim of the United States adopted an aggressive, yet calculated approach to card a 72. He is in tied-seven and just three shots behind the leaders along with Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal.

Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher produced the round of the day with a 67 to sit a shot off the lead on six under par, one ahead of Grillo, England's Andrew Johnston and Austrian Matthias Schwab – whose 68 was the only bogey-free round of the week so far.