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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 12 Oct 2018

Shubhankar Sharma fires phenomenal 64 to rise to tied third at halfway stage of CIMB Classic, he lies one off the lead

India's Shubhankar Sharma birdied his closing two holes for a sparkling eight-under-par 64 to trail the second round leaders American Gary Woodland and Australian Marc Leishman by one shot at the CIMB Classic on Friday.

The Indian star rediscovered his form in the country where he won eight months ago as he registered nine birdies against a single blemish to end the day on 13-under-par 131 at the US$7 million event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and PGA TOUR.

Sharma (67-64) will enter the weekend rounds hot on the heels of Woodland, who equalled the course record of 61 today, and tie with Leishman, whose 62 placed him atop the leaderboard at the TPC Kuala Lumpur.

Starting from the 10th, the 22-year-old Sharma turned in 33 before showcasing his impeccable form highlighted by a 30-foot birdie putt on the eighth hole. He rifled his nine-iron approach shot to two-feet on the last for an easy tap-in birdie to charge in contention.

Sharma matched his second low round on the Asian Tour. He previously shot a 62 at the 2016 Manila Masters and closed with the same score when he won in Malaysia in February.

This is Shubhankar's first appearance at the CIMB Classic and he is aiming to better countryman Lahiri’s best result of tied third place in the event in 2016.

He totalled 26 putts in his round today and hit 15 greens-in-regulation and nine fairways. He has dropped three bogeys in 36 holes.

Sharma said, "Really happy, really pleased with the way I played. Had a lot of birdie opportunities and I converted most of them, so very happy.

"I just feel like all the players playing at this level are at a very high level. On a course like this when they get going, they will go really low and I just feel like even I belong in that league. When I'm feeling it and I'm hitting it good, I pretty much go at every pin and I feel like I can make all the putts. I would just say that I did get into a zone today, especially on that front nine, which is my back nine, I was pretty much going at all the pins.  Just that one bad shot on the second, but other than that I was hitting it pretty good. So really happy with where I am right now and I just want to continue doing that for the next two days.

"Almost like I woke up after the front nine yesterday. I didn't really have the best of starts, but the next 27 holes after that have been really good.

"My goal at the start of the week was to get into a good position going into the weekend and I've done that. I don't think I could have played better than this. I wasn't really in form before this event, I didn't really have the best of weeks before this, but to come back strong, especially to have my coach here, we figured out a few things. So yeah, the weekend is important on a lot of fronts PGA TOUR, Asian Tour Order of Merit, so many things but I just want to keep it simple, just want to go out and play golf."

Gaganjeet Bhullar carded a second round of 70 to be placed tied 36th at five-under-139.

Anirban Lahiri was in tied 73rd place at two-over-146 while Rahil Gangjee was 77th at four-over-148.

Source: Asian Tour
 
 

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