Shubhankar Sharma is the 54-hole leader at the WGC-Mexico Championship, but if you don’t know anything about him, you’re not alone. Phil Mickelson didn’t know who he was, either.
Sharma is 13 under at Chapultepec Golf Club in Mexico City and leads the field by two heading into today’s final round. If he can hang on it will be the biggest victory of his young career.
Here’s what you need to know about Sharma.
1. He’s rising fast
The 21-year-old from India turned pro in 2013 and played on the Asian Development Tour in 2014. He won the Joburg Open in December 2017 to earn full-time membership on the European Tour. Just two months later he picked up his second win on the Euro Tour, claiming the Maybank Championship. The win at the Joburg also qualified him for the 2018 Open Championship. This week’s tournament is his first PGA Tour start of his career.
2. He leads the Race to Dubai
Tommy Fleetwood leads the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, right? Wrong. It’s Sharma who holds the early edge in the Tour’s year-long points race, which is the criteria that landed him in his first WGC.
3. He’s in the OWGR Top 100.
Sharma was the 517th-ranked player in the world at the end of 2016 but moved to 202nd at the end of 2017. After his second victory he went from 193 to 72, and he enters this week’s event as the 75th-ranked player in the world.
4. He can go really low
In his two victories in the past three months he’s fired rounds of 61 and 62. The latter came in the final round of the Maybank.
5. He’s firing on all cylinders this week
While he doesn’t bomb it like Dustin Johnson (Sharma ranks 45th out of 64 in driving distance this week at 298.7 yards) he still ranks eighth in Strokes Gained Off the Tee through 54 holes. His other Strokes Gained numbers are strong as well. He’s 11th in Strokes Gained Approach the Green, 14th in Strokes Gained Around the Green and 11th in Strokes Gained Putting.