Indian Open: Shubhankar Sharma and Matt Wallace lead by one shot

Shubhankar Sharma

Indian Open third-round leaderboard
-7 M Wallace (Eng), S Sharma (Ind); -6 S Gallacher (Sco); -5 A Johnston (Eng), M Schwab (Aut), E Grillo (Arg); -4 S Kim (US), P Larrazabal (Sp)
Selected others: -3 A Rai (Eng); -1 J Donaldson (Wal), S Brown (Eng); level A Wall (Eng); +5 T Bjorn (Den); +12 D Clarke (NI)

Local favourite Shubhankar Sharma birdied the final hole to share the lead at seven under going into the final round of the Indian Open.

The 21-year-old, who also led after day three at last week’s WGC in Mexico but finished ninth, has been invited to play in next month’s Masters.

At the DFL Club in New Delhi he leads with England’s Matt Wallace, who had two late bogeys in a two under 70.

Scot Stephen Gallacher is third after four birdies in his last six holes.

Sharma was ranked 202 in the world at the end of 2017 but has risen to 66 and has already won twice this season to lead the Race to Dubai.

He double bogeyed the 17th before pulling a shot back at the closing par five and said: “I’m going to draw from my experiences last week. I know it’s going to be a battle out there and I’ll be ready for it.”

Wallace won six times on the Alps Tour in 2016 – including five in as many starts – to earn a place on the Challenge Tour and soon captured the Open de Portugal to gain his European Tour card.

On a day when only nine players carded under-par rounds, the 27-year-old from Hillingdon had four birdies and an eagle before dropping shots at the 16th and 17th.

Englishman Andrew “Beef” Johnson chipped in from the rough around the fourth green for an eagle en route to a 73 and shares fourth.

Also sharing fourth is Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo, who was four shots ahead after round two, but endured consecutive double bogeys in a 78, while Pablo Larrazabal, who woke up only 38 minutes before his tee-time on day one but shot a 67, is one further back.

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Woods co-leader at Valspar with round two still in progress

Woods made four birdies and one bogey in his second round

Tiger Woods produced a three-under-par 68 to put himself in contention for a first PGA Tour win since 2013 at the Valspar Championship.

The 42-year-old shares the lead on four under after his second round, with some of his challengers still playing.

Woods made a birdie on his third and fourth holes at the Florida course, before adding two more after the turn.

He gave a trademark fist pump after saving par from 12 feet on his 16th hole but made a bogey on his last.

The 14-time major winner shares the lead with England’s Paul Casey and American Brandt Snedeker, who have also completed their second rounds.

Canada’s Corey Conners – who led after round one – is also on four under but has yet to start his second round, while Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy began his second round at 17:35 GMT and at three over, is likely to need to shoot under par to make the cut.

“I’ve got a chance going into the weekend,” said Woods, who had a 10-month lay-off after back surgery in April 2017.

“I keep getting a little bit better here and there, making these subtle tweaks. I needed a little bit more tournament time in and I’ve done that. I’m getting feel for it, finding the rhythm of rounds and not having a problem posting scores.”

Woods – now ranked 388 in the world – last won at the Bridgestone Invitational in August 2013 but looks to be building on his 12th-place finish at the Honda Classic in February.

Starting his round on the back nine, he holed putts of around six feet for birdies on his third and fourth holes, the second coming after a pin-point 187-yard tee shot.

After the turn he fired a 159-yard approach to within 12 feet for a birdie on his 11th hole of the day and a fine bunker shot two holes later saw him sink a putt of four feet for a birdie on a par five.

Elsewhere in the field, world number four Jordan Spieth finished his second round five over and looks certain to miss the weekend with the projected cut at two over.

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Rory McIlroy starts slowly at Valspar Championship in Florida

McIlroy produced 10 pars in a row before beginning to drop shots

Rory McIlroy dropped three shots in his closing eight holes to card a scrappy opening round of 74 at the Valspar Championship in Florida.

The Northern Irishman started his round on the back nine and produced 10 straight pars at the PGA Tour event.

A double-bogey on his 14th hole of the day damaged his card, although he chipped in for birdie two holes later.

But a bogey on his final hole left him three over for his round, seven shots behind Canadian leader Corey Conners.

Scottish duo Russell Knox and Martin Laird are only two shots off the lead with holes still to play as round one continues, while Tiger Woods is at level par through six holes.

McIlroy, 28, arrived at the tournament stating he was “totally ready” for the Masters – the only major he is yet to win – which starts at Augusta National on 5 April.

The world number 12 began his 2018 season promisingly with a tie for third in Abu Dhabi and a runners-up spot in Dubai.

But he has followed those performances by missing the cut at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, finishing tied for 20th at the Genesis Open and sharing 59th place at the Honda Classic.

In this latest outing at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club, he drove the ball an average 308 yards but found the fairway just 46% of the time and hit greens in regulation with less than 40% of his approaches.

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Male and female golfers to compete together at European Golf Team Championships

Anna Nordqvist

Male and female golfers will compete together at the inaugural European Golf Team Championships to be held at Gleneagles this August.

They will compete for equal prize money in both a men’s and women’s team matchplay tournament as well as an 18-hole mixed foursomes strokeplay event.

Players will represent their countries, with 16 teams of two in the matchplay competitions.

In the mixed foursomes, they will combine to form teams of four.

Qualification for Gleneagles will be determined by the men’s and women’s world rankings, with a maximum of three teams representing any one country.

The tournament forms part of the 2018 European Championships, a multi-sport event being staged jointly in Glasgow and Berlin.

It will bring together the existing European Championships of athletics, aquatics, cycling, gymnastics, rowing and triathlon.

Men and women will also compete together at the GolfSixes event in Hertfordshire in May.

“This summer’s European Golf Team Championships will be a totally unique event,” said Mark Lichtenhein, chairman of the Ladies European Tour.

“We are extremely pleased that the men and women will play competitively together for equal prize money.

“As we have seen through the Olympic Games in Rio, the recent Oates Vic Open in Australia and the announcement to have mixed teams in the GolfSixes in the UK, there is a tremendous public appetite to see men and women competing.”

Keith Pelley, the chief executive of the European Tour, described the championships as an “exciting addition” to his circuit’s schedule.

“There is a need for golf to embrace new formats and engage a wider audience,” he said.

The tournaments will be played from August 8-12, a clear time on the women’s LPGA Tour but the same week as men’s PGA Championship, the final major of the year.

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Mickelson beats Thomas in Mexico play-off to win first event since 2013

Phil Mickelson

WGC-Mexico Championship final round
-16 P Mickelson (US), J Thomas (US); -15 R Bello (Spa), T Hatton (Eng); -13 K Aphibarnrat (Tha), B Harman (US); -12 D Johnson (US), S Garcia (Spa)
Selected others: -10 B Watson (US), S Sharma (Ind); -9 P Casey (Eng); -8 T Fleetwood (Eng), J Spieth (US); -6 C Hoffman (US); -2 M Fitzpatrick (Eng)
Full leaderboard

America’s Phil Mickelson defeated Justin Thomas in a play-off to win the WGC-Mexico Championship and claim his first victory since the 2013 Open.

Thomas eagled the last hole for a seven-under 64, but Mickelson shot 66 to force the play-off.

Mickelson, 47, then parred the first extra hole to win his 43rd career title and become the oldest winner of a World Golf Championship event.

England’s Tyrell Hatton missed out on the play-off by one shot.

Hatton was in a three-way tie with Mickelson and Thomas but bogeyed the final hole to shoot 67 and ensure a third-place finish.

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England's Meghan MacLaren wins Ladies European Tour Women's New South Wales Open

Meghan MacLaren with father and caddie David

England’s Meghan MacLaren claimed her first Ladies European Tour title with a two-shot victory in the Women’s New South Wales Open in Australia.

The 23-year-old overnight leader carded a level-par 71 to win on 10 under.

American Casey Danielson (66), Silvia Banon of Spain (68) and Norway’s Marita a Engzelius (71) finished joint second.

“It feels incredible. I didn’t think those words would be coming out of my mouth so soon,” said MacLaren, playing only her 11th LET event.

“It can take some players years before they get over the line. To do it now gives me a lot of confidence.”

MacLaren opened with two birdies in her opening three holes to build a four-shot advantage that she maintained at the turn, despite Danielson holing four birdies on her front nine.

Danielson, who began the day seven shots of of the lead, carded another birdie on the 12th for a bogey-free round.

MacLaren could afford a three-putt bogey on the 13th and another dropped shot on the par-five 17th before a par on the last sealed victory.

Lydia Hall of Wales finished in a group of four who tied for fifth on seven under.

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WGC-Mexico Championship: Shubhankar Sharma leads by two in Mexico City

Shubhankar Sharma

WGC-Mexico Championship third round
-13 S Sharma (Ind); -11 T Hatton (Eng), P Mickelson (US), S Garcia (Spa) R Bello (Spa); -10 P Perez (US) D Johnson (US), B Harman (US), X Schauffele (US)
Selected others:-9 J Thomas (US); -7 J Spieth (US), C Hoffman (US), M Leishman (Aus); -6 B Watson (US); -5 R Fisher (Eng), -4 P Casey (Eng); -3 T Fleetwood (Eng)
Full leaderboard

Shubhankar Sharma’s par-saving putt on the final hole of his third round preserved a two-shot lead heading into the final day of the WGC Championship.

The 21-year-old from India shot a 69 to keep ahead of a high-class chasing pack comprising Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Rafa Cabrera Bello and England’s Tyrrell Hatton.

Defending champion Dustin Johnson is three strokes behind in Mexico City.

Justin Thomas is another stroke back after a course-record 62.

American Thomas, seeking back-to-back wins after victory in the Honda Classic last weekend, was 11 shots off the pace at the start of the day but fired eight birdies to surge into contention at nine under.

Mickelson, who has not enjoyed a victory since the 2013 Open at Muirfield, did not drop a shot in his 65, while the Spanish pair of Garcia and Cabrera Bello both shot 69.

Forty-five of the world’s top 50 players are in the 64-man field competing for a prize fund of £7.2m and winner’s cheque of £1.2m.

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WGC-Mexico Championship: Shubhankar Sharma leads on debut, Sergio Garcia behind

Shubhankar Sharma leads WGC-Mexico Championship

WGC-Mexico Championship first round
-11 S Sharma (Ind); -9 X Schauffele (US), R Cabrera Bello (Spa), S Garcia (Spa)
Selected others: -7 L Oosthuizen (SA), D Johnson (US), B Watson (US); -5 J Spieth (US), Phil Mickelson (US); -4 T Hatton (Eng), Rickie Fowler (US); -3 R Fisher (Eng); -2 M Fitzpatrick (Eng), C Paisley (Eng); -1 P Casey (Eng); +1 J Rose (Eng), T Fleetwood (Eng); +6 P Dunne (Ire)
Full leaderboard

India’s Shubhankar Sharma hit a superb five-under-par 66 to move two shots clear at the halfway stage on his WGC Championship debut in Mexico City.

The 21-year-old, who is the youngest player in the 64-man field, sunk five birdies on the back nine.

American Xander Schauffele is tied in second place with Spanish pair Rafa Cabrera Bello and Sergio Garcia.

World number one Dustin Johnson, the defending champion, is four shots behind Sharma on seven under par.

England’s Chris Paisley was a shot off the lead overnight, but has dropped down the field after a four-over 75 to leave him in tied 29th on two under.

Tyrrell Hatton, who is four under par, has moved ahead of him as the leading English player, with Ross Fisher just behind on three under.

Forty-five of the world’s top 50 players are in the 64-man field competing for a prize fund of £7.2m and winner’s cheque of £1.2m.

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Woods to play PGA Tour events as part of Masters preparations

Tiger Woods to play two PGA Tour events

Fourteen-time major winner Tiger Woods will play in two upcoming PGA Tour events as he prepares to return to the Masters at Augusta next month.

The 42-year-old American will play in next week’s Valspar Championship near Tampa and the following week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando.

He is continuing his comeback after a long lay-off with a back injury.

The four-time Masters champion has missed the past two Augusta tournaments but is expected to play next month.

Woods had surgery on his troublesome back last April and was sidelined for almost 10 months.

In January, he returned to play his first PGA Tour event for a year, finishing 23rd at Torrey Pines.

He missed the cut at last month’s Genesis Open before earning a 12th place finish at the Honda Classic the week after, moving him up to 389th in the world rankings.

Woods will be competing in the Valspar tournament for the first time, but returns to the Palmer event – which he has won eight times – for the first time since his 2013 triumph.

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