Sharma finds a par round, as Finau grabs 3-shot lead at WGC

Justin Rose looked to have secured the third-round lead at the WGC-HSBC Champions, only for Tony Finau to swiftly reclaim top spot.

Tony Finau during round three of the WGC-HSBC Champions   -  Getty Images

India’s Shubhankar Sharma finally registered a modest round against his name as he carded an even par 72 in the third round of the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions on Saturday.

Sharma, who was 80-80 for the first two days, opened superbly from the 10th with three birdies in first five holes, but then assumed a shaky form.

He dropped a double on 15th and then had back-to-back birdies on second and third. Then again, he lapsed with three bogeys in last four holes for a 72. He is presently 76th out of the 77 left in the tournament.

Gaganjeet Bhullar (81) had a disappointing day too. He was fine for the front nine with one birdie and one bogey, but on the back nine he had five bogeys and two doubles.

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Meanwhile, Tony Finau had a stunning finish by being the only player to birdie last three holes as he raced to a three-shot lead.

Finau was two-over through 12, but birdied 13th and then had three in a row from 16th.

Defending champion Justin Rose (70), seeking to become the only player other than Tiger Woods to defend a World Golf Championships title, returned with a 70 to share second place with Americans Patrick Reed (70) and Xander Schauffele (69).

Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat carded two-under-par 70 to sit at tied seventh. While a maiden WGC win at the Sheshan International Golf Club is still within sights, the Thai preferred to play down expectations and just focus on getting off to a fast start so that he can chase Finau down on the final day.

Like Kiradech, Finau is also eyeing his breakthrough at a WGC event.