Shubhankar Sharma leads in Mexico as Paul Dunne struggles
Lone Irishman in the field sits well down the leaderboard after a disappointing day two
Paul Dunne of Ireland plays out of a bunker onto the first green during the second round of World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship at Club de Golf Chapultepec in Mexico City, Mexico. Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Shubhankar Sharma’s remarkable rise continued to gather pace at the WGC-Mexico Championship as he claimed a two-shot halfway lead at Chapultepec Golf Club.
The 21-year-old from India was outside the world’s top 450 when he won the Joburg Open in December, and he followed that up with victory in Malaysia last month.
Those wins have put Sharma top of the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, while he has also risen to 75th in the official world golf ranking.
Making his World Golf Championships debut, Sharma opened with a round of 65 on Thursday and stormed home in 31 to follow up with a five under par 66.
At 11 under for the week Sharma leads by two from Spaniards Rafa Cabrera Bello and Sergio Garcia, as well as American Xander Schauffele.
For Paul Dunne – the lone Irishman in the field – it was another disappointing day as he struggled to a round of 75 to sit well back at six over par.
However, there is no cut in the elite-field event meaning that Dunne will have the chance over the weekend to move up the leaderboard and boost his world ranking points. After starting with a birdie he carded bogeys at the fourth and eighth to go out in one over par before quite an eventful back nine.
Birdies at the 11th and 15th came either side of a double bogey at the 12th with three other bogeys leaving him to sign for 75.
Leader Sharma said afterwards: “I’m really happy. I couldn’t be in a better situation.
“I played so well, and the bogeys that I made today were just three-putts. Otherwise I just get the ball in play all day and it was great to finish with three birdies in a row.
“I thought about nothing, I just wanted to have fun. It’s my first WGC and I was happy that I’ll play four days because I missed the cut in the last two events that I played. Even though I missed the cuts, I knew I was playing well. So I just wanted to have fun, and yeah, I’ve had a lot of fun.
“I worked all my life to come and play at a high stage like this. You have to expect great things from yourself if you want to play at a high stage.”
Having made a perfect start by driving to a couple of feet on the reachable first and converting for eagle, Sharma three-putted the second and third for consecutive bogeys.
However, he reeled off five unanswered birdies on the back nine — including a hat-trick over the last three holes — to continue a remarkable first WGC appearance.
Garcia eagled the 11th from 20 feet and also had four birdies in a round of 65, while his compatriot Cabrera Bello birdied four of his first six holes, and eagled the 15th, as well as carding two bogeys in a 67.
Schauffele goes into the weekend bogey-free after the 24-year-old carded three birdies in a 68.
England’s Chris Paisley went from six-under-par midway through his second round to two-under-par after dropping four shots in three holes on his back nine.
Collated second round scores in the WGC — Mexico Championship, Club de Golf Chapultepec, Mexico (USA unless stated, Irish in bold par 71):
131 Shubhankar Sharma (Ind) 65 66
133 Xander Schauffele 65 68, Sergio Garcia (Spa) 68 65, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa) 66 67
135 Dustin Johnson 69 66, Brendan Steele 69 66, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha) 66 69, Pat Perez 68 67, Brian Harman 68 67, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 64 71, Bubba Watson 69 66
136 Charley Hoffman 70 66, Kyle Stanley 71 65
137 Daniel Berger 69 68, Phil Mickelson 69 68, Adam Bland (Aus) 70 67, Marc Leishman (Aus) 69 68, Thomas Pieters (Bel) 69 68, Jordan Spieth 70 67
138 Tony Finau 68 70, Russell Henley 69 69, Jon Rahm (Spa) 67 71, Tyrrell Hatton 70 68, Patton Kizzire 69 69, Rickie Fowler 68 70, Jhonattan Vegas (Ven) 70 68
139 Ross Fisher 71 68, Alex Noren (Swe) 69 70
140 Charl Schwartzel (Rsa) 71 69, Chris Paisley 65 75, Matthew Fitzpatrick 71 69
141 Francesco Molinari (Ita) 71 70, David Lipsky 70 71, Paul Casey 73 68, Branden Grace (Rsa) 72 69, Adam Hadwin (Can) 70 71, Kevin Kisner 70 71
142 Justin Thomas 72 70, Webb Simpson 72 70
143 Dean Burmester (Rsa) 73 70, Justin Rose 71 72, Tommy Fleetwood 72 71, Joost Luiten (Ned) 72 71, Jorge Campillo (Spa) 72 71, Kevin Chappell 73 70, Dylan Frittelli (Rsa) 73 70
144 Jason Dufner 72 72, Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 73 71
145 Satoshi Kodaira (Jpn) 72 73, Gary Woodland 74 71, Patrick Cantlay 70 75, Chez Reavie 72 73
146 Peter Uihlein 74 72, Wade Ormsby (Aus) 79 67, Patrick Reed 72 74
147 Abraham Ancer (Mex) 71 76, Yuta Ikeda (Jpn) 73 74
148 Paul Dunne 73 75, Matt Kuchar 74 74
149 Yusaku Miyazato (Jpn) 77 72
151 Brandon Stone (Rsa) 75 76, Gavin Green (Mal) 78 73
152 Haotong Li (Chn) 73 79, Brett Rumford (Aus) 78 74