By Rahul Banerji
A mid-round bogey and a birdie putt that shaved the cup at the end pulled Shubhankar Sharma back at the $9.5 million CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges on day three.
But for those misses, he could have ended up with an even more impressive number than the eventual 64 that sparked his challenge at Jeju Island.
The run also pulled him into red numbers for the first time in the tournament.
Sharma’s round was the day’s best by one shot ahead of a clutch that included Rafa Cabrera Bello, Jason Day, Ted Potter Jr and Brendan Steele.
It was also two better than tournament leader Brooks Koepka’s card for the day.
Little wonder the 22-year-old was pleased with his efforts after going 74 and 75 over the first two days.
“I think everything just kind of turned around for me,” he said later. “Today I was in a better zone compared to the first two days.”
Excerpts from an interview courtesy PGA Tour media cell:
Eight‑under 64. What worked so well for you?
Shubhankar Sharma: Really happy with the way I played. I knew before starting that I had to go low to have any chance going into the weekend.
Even for a good finish I had to go low. I had to have a good start today, that was the most important thing for me today and I did that, with four birdies in the first five (holes).
That’s always good when you’re 4 under after five. Then I made two more on the 17th and the 18th to go out in 6 under.
I actually had a great start. Made two three‑putts on the front nine, but still pretty happy with the 8 under.
Did any part of your game especially click for you compared to the first two rounds?
SS: I think everything just kind of turned around for me. Today I was in a better zone today compared to the first two days,
I didn’t get agitated with myself. Still hit a few bad shots, but I was very, very calm on the course and I think that’s what kept me going.
How do you follow up such a spectacular round?
SS: I think I have to shoot another one tomorrow to have a chance of probably securing top‑10, but no pressure.
I’m playing well, I’m pretty happy with the way I played today and that’s all always a good thing.