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WGC-Mexico Championship 2018: Shubhankar Sharma Tops Friday Leaderboard

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistMarch 3, 2018

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - MARCH 02: Shubhankar Sharma of India after sinking a birdie putt on the 18th hole to go -11 for the tournament  during the second round of World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship at Club de Golf Chapultepec on March 2, 2018 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

After hanging around in the first round of the 2018 WGC-Mexico Championship, Shubhankar Sharma used the second round to grab control of the leaderboard and put himself in prime position as the weekend heats up at Chapultepec Golf Club in Mexico City.         

Louis Oosthuizen shot an impressive seven-under 64 on Thursday to hold the lead after the opening round, but he was unable to duplicate that effort as he dropped four spots into a logjam. Even though he surrendered the lead, he finds himself in contention after an even-par Friday.

Last year's winner, Dustin Johnson, still has some work to do if he's going to capture his third title in this tournament. He sits five strokes back after shooting five under on Day 2.

Check out the roundup of Friday's second round of the WGC-Mexico Championship, complete with an updated leaderboard and highlights of the day's best action.

                           

Friday Leaderboard (To Par)

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1. Shubhankar Sharma 66 (-11)

T2. Xander Schauffele 68 (-9)

T2. Rafael Cabrera Bello 67 (-9)

T2. Sergio Garcia 65 (-9)

T5. Louis Oosthuizen 71 (-7)

T5. Brian Harman 67 (-7)

T5. Brendan Steele 66 (-7)

T5. Pat Perez 67 (-7)

T5. Dustin Johnson 66 (-7)

T5. Bubba Watson 66 (-7)

T5. Kiradech Aphibarnrat 69 (-7)

Visit the official PGA Tour website to view the leaderboard in full.

          

Recap

Sharma seized control of the tournament by following a 65 on Thursday with a 66 in the second round. Five birdies and an eagle helped the 21-year-old overcome two bogeys as he finished the day in first.

Rafael Cabrera Bello, who sat two strokes back of the lead after one round, started off strong Friday by notching four birdies on his first six holes, and the PGA Tour highlighted several via Twitter:

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Birdie ... Birdie ... Birdie Rafa cannot be stopped @WGCMexico! #QuickHits https://t.co/hqErroRX6s

He found himself tied for first early in the round, but not even an eagle on the 15th could help him lead at the midway point, as he sits two strokes back of Sharma.

One of the most impressive performances came from Sergio Garcia, who shot a six under to move up six spots and into a tie just one spot behind the leader. An eagle on the 11th hole highlighted his surge:

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

294 yards --> 22 feet --> 🦅 @TheSergioGarcia is feeling it! https://t.co/iUIVWWn9GZ

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

3 birdies. 1 eagle. 0 bogeys. @TheSergioGarcia is rolling @WGCMexico. https://t.co/sY4FNoAVnC

Chris Paisley ended the opening round tied for second, behind seven birdies, but he had a rough Friday. He had only one birdie on the back nine and started the front nine with five straight bogeys before finishing the day at 75, putting him at two under for the tournament and dropping him 27 spots.

Two-time champion Dustin Johnson started the day five shots back, but a nice front nine—which included two birdies and an eagle—got him back in the thick of things.

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Dustin Johnson with some absolute PERFECTION! #QuickHits https://t.co/XSijQ0fAbw

It was just another day on the course for the 33-year-old:

PGA TOUR Communications @PGATOURComms

.@DJohnsonPGA recorded his 123rd eagle on @PGATOUR since 2008 (most of any player) #ShotLink

Fans were reminded once again to never count out Jordan Spieth. After shooting one under in the opening round, the 24-year-old surged early on Day 2:

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Jordan Spieth's ranks today ... 🔥🔥🔥 1st: Strokes gained: tee-to-green 1st: Strokes gained: off-the-tee 1st: Strokes gained: approach-the-green T1: Score T1: Scrambling He's -4 and T8. https://t.co/h2DpAAd5Ph

Behind four birdies, he finished in a tie for 14th and six strokes back of the leader.

As for 2009 WGC-Mexico Championship winner Phil Mickelson, he was able to hang around. A 68 second round has him tied for 14th place. Making the most out of a couple of tough situations kept Lefty from falling any further back:

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

How to make a par ... the Phil Mickelson way 📝 #QuickHits https://t.co/vadBcEQ5gt

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Shot 1: Right fairway Shot 2: Blade it way over Shot 3: Chip it to 3 feet Shot 4: In the cup The words "routine par" are not in Phil Mickelson's vocabulary. https://t.co/eFwhPtezCJ

While Sharma created a little bit of separation on Day 2, plenty of golfers remain within striking distance. Now, it's all set up for an exciting final two rounds in Mexico City. 

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