Shubhankar Sharma opens up five-stroke advantage at Joburg Open

Pauline Gross
December 11, 2017

Playing just his 10th European Tour event and still looking for his first worldwide pro win, Sharma also became the first player to be 20 under or better after 54 holes on the European Tour since Rory McIlroy at the 2015 Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

As well as playing for the trophy this week, there are three places on offer at the 2018 British Open, with the top three players not already exempt earning a place at Carnoustie.

But there was no spoiling Blomstrand's happiness as he put himself in line for a great result in just his second tournament as a full-time European Tour member.

"I'm really happy", Sharma said.

"There are still some really good scores out there and I just want to stay within myself and play versus the course. My putting has been very good and I hope it continues".

"I had my visa all ready to come here but after a long season I wasn't sure. but now I am pleased I came here to the Joburg Open".

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Beginning the day eight strokes off the lead, Blomstrand posted back-to-back birdies from the second and followed an eagle at the fourth with three more gains in a front-nine 29.

Howell soon set that right, though, with another birdie at the ninth to reach the turn at two-under.

"It is a really nice birthday present", said Blomstrand. "I'm going to be aggressive and won't hit any stupid shots". "He showed me a sign this morning and I just went out there and did what I had to do".

Blomstrand looked on course for a potential sub-60 round until a final-hole bogey, while midway pacesetter Tapio Pulkkanen lies seven strokes off the pace after posting a one-over 73.

Erik van Rooyen will carry the load of local expectation after he shot a two-under-par 70 on Saturday to go into Sunday's final round on 14-under-par, six behind leader Shubhankar, and tied for third with Englishman James Morrison.

Other reports by GizPress

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