Turkish Open: Shubhankar Sharma tied 17th after third round

After dropping five in three in the third round, Shubhankar Sharma waged a hard battle with five birdies in six holes to reach 10-under.

Shubhankar Sharma tees off during the Turkish Open.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Indian golfer Shubhankar Sharma battled his way to a one-under 71 to lie tied 17th after a roller coaster third round at the Turkish Airlines Open here on Saturday.

After dropping five in three in the third round, Sharma waged a hard battle with five birdies in six holes to reach 10-under.

The 23-year-old Indian first moved backwards — at one stage after seven he was down in the 40s - and then clawed his way back on a day when the pin positions were really tough.

Sharma needs more gains on Sunday to get a spot in next week’s Nedbank Challenge.

Sharma’s recovery came in the stretch from eighth to 13th during which he made five birdies. He forced his way into red numbers at one-under but still dropped from overnight T-11 to Tied-17th.

Overall he had seven birdies, two doubles and two bogeys.

Englishman Matthias Schwab landed an eagle for the third day in a row and had six other birdies.

He could even afford a double bogey on par-4 12th and still open up a three-shot lead over a bunch of five players led by Benjamin Hebert (64), Tyrell Hatton (65), Patrick Reed (65), Robert MacIntyre (67) and Ross Fisher (68).

Justin Rose’s chance of a three-in-a-row took a big hit, as he bogeyed the fourth and double bogeyed the ninth and had just two birdies in his 73 to slid to Tied-25 at nine-under.

Looking drained, but happy, Sharma said, “I am proud of the way I fought back on the first day and then again today.”

After starting the day with a birdie, he dropped a doubles on fifth and seventh and a bogey in between on sixth to be four-over after seven.

“To be honest I was a numb at that time. To be four-over after seven on a course like this is bad. I didn’t have the right club on the fifth; pulled it a little on the sixth and got a bad bounce and it went into the water; on the seventh I was in the bunker up against the wall and had a bad lie in rough and three putted for a double,” he said.

“I had to dig deep and I am happy I managed as I was on a roll with five birdies in six, including four in a row on back nine. I hit a lot of good shots. When I got to 10-under after 13, I was fishing for 12-under by the end. But the birdies dried up and then I missed a tough two-putt on 16th. I got back a birdie on 17thwith a good second shot after it hit the cart path. The birdie putt stopped short on 18th.”

As for the round itself, Sharma said, “I went through a whole range of emotions. I know I am making a lot of birdies, I did that in Italy, in France and in Portugal. It’s just that I need to cut down on the leakage and it will be fine. One more round and I could still find something.”

Sharma this season has time and again shot a bunch of birdies, only to lose the gains with what he called as “stupid shots”.

Sharma’s 20 birdies are second only to Joachim Hansen, whose 21 have been off set by seven bogeys and a double.

Leader Schwab has 16 birdies and three eagles, while Robert MacIntyre has 19 birdies and an eagle.

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