MEXICO CITY – It will be an interesting introduction for Shubhankar Sharma on Saturday at the WGC-Mexico Championship, but then it’s been an interesting week for the little-known pro from India.
Sharma, who moved into the lead at Chapultepec Golf Club with a second-round 66, is playing his first PGA Tour event and his first World Golf Championship. So while taking a lead into the weekend at a marquee event may be new, he’s had a number of new experiences this week.
“Every day. Even in the hotel, the gym, we see so many of these guys in the gym,” Sharma said when asked if he’d had a surreal moment this week. “Practicing with all these good players on the range, [Jordan] Spieth was right behind me, and after a couple shots just stepped back and watched and then Dustin [Johnson] replaced him, so it's like I couldn't ask for anything better.”
Well, things could get better.
Sharma holds a two-stroke lead over Xander Schauffele, Rafa Cabrera Bello and Sergio Garcia; and could take another huge step in his career this week.
At 75th in the World Ranking, a top-10 finish this week would likely move Sharma safely into the top 64 and earn him a spot at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in two weeks. Beyond that, he could also secure himself a spot in his first major at this year’s Masters depending the outcome in Mexico.
That’s a massive improvement over where he was just three months ago before winning the Joburg Open to earn his status on the European Tour, which he followed with a second victory last month at the Maybank Championship Malaysia.
“It's a total dream come true,” he said of his lofty new status.