India's Shubhankar Sharma, the youngest competitor in the field, takes a two-shot lead into the weekend of the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship.
After a birdie/bogey start a second birdie of the day at the fourth sent him to the turn 1-under but it was three back nine gains that really vaulted him up the standings.
Leader Louis Oosthuizen headed Xander Schauffele, Sharma and Chris Paisley by a stroke on a day when defending champion Dustin Johnson hit a 69 that included a near ace at the 17th, his ball landing beyond the pin and spinning back nearly into the hole.
After his only bogeys at the second and third holes, Sharma had back-to-back birdies at the par-5 11th from 10 feet and the par-4 12th from 23 feet.
"I'm really pleased with the way I played". 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. I just wanted the first round to get out of the way.
In the biggest event of his career so far, Shubhankar Sharma is leading the exclusive 65-man field boasting the game's top five ranked players at the halfway point. This son of an army colonel, Sharma turned pro when he was 16 and has learned the ropes the hard way.
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Sharma hit a 3-wood on his opening tee shot to 2 feet for a tap-in eagle and overcame consecutive three-putt bogeys.
Sharma said the key to his good play had been adjusting to the yardage difference in play at the Club de Golf Chapultepec which is 7,500 feet above sea level. "You have to expect great things from yourself if you want to play at a high stage". It could also earn him spots at WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Masters Tournament and THE PLAYERS Championship in the coming weeks. He won the European Tour's Maybank Championship and Joburg Open.
In the past four months, my life has totally changed.
"I felt like I didn't have a whole lot of control today but I putted really well", he said. So everything is happening so fast, it's just taking time to sink in.
Schauffele, the US PGA Tour's 2017 Rookie of the Year, is the only player with no bogeys after 36 holes, having opened with a 65 and followed with a 68.
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