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WATCH Justin Thomas hole out for walk-off eagle at WGC-Mexico

05 March, 2018, 01:00 | Author: John Swanson
  • World No 3 Justin Thomas moved closer to the leaders in Mexico on Saturday     
              World No 3 Justin Thomas moved closer to the leaders

He said "Hi". I said "Hi".

Now he's in the midst of these players, and he's beating them.

From 121 yards out on the par 4 18th and tied for the lead with Phil Mickelson at 14-under par, Thomas hit the shot of the tournament to hole out for eagle and take a two-shot lead into the clubhouse.

In a loaded, limited field, you can make some quick jumps up the leaderboard but that's a big gap and there's just so much talent between you and the leader. "I said 'hi". And then he made a few putts and then he came back to me and said, 'Have a good day.' It was nice". "I'm back playing some of my best golf again".

For a player who is almost five years removed from his last victory (2013 Open Championship) the confidence has returned. At least Sharma got the introductions out of the way before Saturday's round. Even golfers who play on the European Tour with Sharma are still unfamiliar with his rise up the rankings. According to Gulf News, Mohan Lal quit the armed forces six years ago to help his son pursue golf, thanks to the help of an army colleague, Tusha Lahiri, who is the father of two-time European Tour victor Anirban Lahiri.

He just didn't recognize him. "He thought we were media and he said, 'Not right now, after the round, '" laughed Sharma, who will be grouped with Mickelson and Tyrrell Hatton. "After the round, '" Sharma said with a smile. Otherwise I just get the ball in play all day and it was great to finish with three birdies in a row.

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Sharma carded a round of 69 to end on 13-under-par.

Just three months ago, he had yet to win a tournament outside of India's developmental circuit.

It's the same hometown as four-time European Tour victor Jeev Milkha Singh. He was No. 462 in the world.

Woods followed his 69 in the third round with a 70 on Sunday to finish eight shots back of the top spot on the hard Florida golf course.

He faces quite a test, however. After making history this weekend, becoming the first Indian to stream ahead of legends like Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia at the WGC-Mexico Championship, it still feels like telly to him.

He's 21 going on 31 with a calm mind that has transcended the brightest lights of a World Golf Championship.

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Sharma didn't blink, even after a lead that reached four shots at one point was shrinking.

Sharma is not your prototypical modern professional.

He gave a slight fist pump, and then another, when the par putt fell.

Sharma started the third round solidly with three birdies in the first six holes but was a mediocre one-over the rest of the way. But he dropped a shot on the 16th, and then came up short in the water on the par-3 17th and made double bogey.

As for reigning champ Dustin Johnson, he will need a strong finish to capture his third title at the event.

The 21-year-old is one great round from becoming the youngest victor of a World Golf Championships (WGC) event, as well as the first to win in his first WGC start. He was only four back. Mickelson at Muirfield. Rory McIlroy at Congressional. You can't contain yourself. He recalls studying for an exam all day on Monday in 2008 so he could stay up to watch Tiger Woods when the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. He's driven the ball well, putted well and made just a single bogey over his last 36 holes. "I remember when he made that putt to get into the playoff, I jumped on my bed and nearly broke it". Sunday is a final exam of another variety.

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