Mexico City, Feb 24: Shubhankar Sharma hit nine of 14 fairways and found 13 of 18 greens in regulation and shot one-under 70, the second time he has a under par round in three days at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship. At four-over 217, he is Tied-54th at the tournament, where he was Tied-ninth a year ago on his debut.
Dustin Johnson, who still does not have a bogey in 54 holes, nevertheless does have a double bogey, his only blemish in three days. He shot five-under 66 despite the double and extended his lead from three to four shots over Rory McIlroy (68). Johnson is now 16-under and McIlroy is 12-under.
Sergio Garcia (69), Patrick Cantlay (65), Patrick Reed (64), and Cameron Smith (68) are tied for 3rd at 9 under.
Sharma had four birdies against three bogeys. Two of his birdies came on the Par-5s. The first was on the 622-yard par-5 11th hole, where he reached the green in three and holed a huge 28-foot putt for birdie.
The other Par-5 birdie was on the 575-yard par-5 15th hole, where he hit an approach shot from 236 yards to 10 feet and holed it.
On the 316-yard par-4 first Sharma hit his tee shot 319 yards to the green and he two-putted for a birdie.
On the par-4 eighth, Sharma's 205 yard approach to 11 feet set himself up for the birdie on the hole. This moved Sharma to 1 under for the round.
His bogeys included a three-putt on the 186-yard par-3 third, and he also bogeyed the Par-4 fourth where his second shot went into the right greenside bunker and then he hit to 11 yards to the green from where he two-putted. This moved Sharma to even for the round.
Woods struggles on the greens
Tiger Woods (70) once came within four shots after Johnson's double bogey but Woods had a tough day on the greens. The worst was after Woods had a 5-iron from the middle of the fairway on the par-5 15th. He went into the bunker and got out to 25 feet and four-putted for a double bogey, with the last three putts from just outside 3 feet.
He followed that with a three-putt bogey on the 16th, and a birdie on the final hole gave him a 70. He had 16 greens in regulation. He is now 10 shots behind Johnson.
Johnson still hasn’t made a bogey at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship at Club de Golf Chapultepec.
Johnson’s double-bogey came after he got caught up in the trees at the 10th hole. Yet he quickly recovered with two consecutive birdies to wipe away the losses. He birdied four of the last eight holes, never letting McIlroy get closer than two shots.
Johnson, the 2017 winner here, has won seven times in 15 chances with at least a share of the 54-hole lead on the PGA TOUR. While McIlroy is four behind, Johnson is seven ahead of his next closest pursuers.
Of them Reed made two eagles and had the day’s low round, but Cantlay hit the most memorable shot, driving the green at the 394-yard, par-4 12th hole, his ball nearly colliding with that of Kevin Kisner in the group ahead before stopping three feet away. Cantlay made the eagle putt.
Johnson’s 369-yard tee shot at the second hole set up a four-foot eagle putt Saturday and he was amazing around the greens.
If Johnson holds on to win he would be the 38th player to reach 20 wins in the history of the TOUR. It would also give him 12 consecutive seasons with at least one win since he turned pro in 2008. He is the only player to win all World Golf Championships events, and is seeking his sixth WGC title.
Johnson has won three times in five chances when leading by three or more strokes.
Asia’s best is Kiradech
Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat who kept himself in position to notch a career fourth top-5 in a WGC event. He fired a 3-under 68 in the third round to move up one rung to T-7 on Saturday. Kiradech, 29, had five birdies against two dropped shots.
His three-day total of 8-under 205 is eight behind Johnson.
Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama produced a 67 to move to T-16 while Haotong Li of China fought to a level par 71 for T-30. Korea’s Byeong Hun An shot eight birdies against a lone bogey for the joint best score of the day with a 64 for T-46 while Sharma was T-54.