Sharma on track for maiden win and a place at Carnoustie
As if Shunhankar Sharma was not content with recording a career low round on Friday, the young Indian golfer added a 65 to his second round 61 to lead the Joburg Open.
The 21-year-old, Sharma, whose third-place finish at the 2016 Bashundhara Bangladesh Open remains his best to date, now has a chance of claiming victory in Joburg. Sharma spoke on Friday of his “dream” to play at The Open, which if his fine form continues, will quickly become reality.
Shubhankar Sharma - 20 (65)
Christofer Blomstrand - 15 (62)
Erik van Rooyen - 14 (70)
The leading three players, not already exempt, will earn places at The Open to be played 15-22 July 2018. In the event of a tie for a qualifying place at the end of tomorrow’s final round, the player with the higher ranking in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) takes the spot.
Birthday boy Christopher Blomstrand’s remarkable ten-under-par 62, which included eight birdies, two eagles and two bogeys, saw the European Tour rookie climb up the leaderboard and into second place (-15). The Swede, who turned 26 on Saturday, came through European Tour Qualifying School just last month and occupies the second qualifying spot after the third round. Blomstrand will look to carry his birthday luck through Sunday’s final round as he bids to claim his first European Tour victory.
One to Watch
Following the third round James Morrison keeps Eric van Rooyen company at fourteen-under-par. The South African outranks him for a qualifying spot for The Open, but Morrison’s impressive 67 on Saturday will give him encouragement heading into Sunday’s final round. The 35-year-old Englishman will fancy his chances on Scotland’s east coast should he book his place at Carnoustie; his best finish at The Open coming at St Andrews in 2015 where he tied for 20th place.
Quote of the Day: James Morrison
"It's a nice goal to have away from trying to win the event itself. The Open is the best event in the world, and until you've been there and played one - and I've been lucky enough to play three, you don't know what you're in for."
The 82 players who beat the cut after the second round were reduced further to 72 on Saturday after organisers decided to enforce a 54-hole cut. One casualty was Silver Medal winner Alfie Plant who will now not feature in Sunday’s final round as a result.