March 9, 2018 / 3:13 PM / 6 months ago

Grillo stretches Indian Open lead as Sharma storms into contention

(Reuters) - Agrentina’s Emiliano Grillo opened up a four-shot lead heading into the weekend at the Indian Open but will be wary of local hope Shubhankar Sharma, who posted a new course record on Friday.

Golf - The 146th Open Championship - Royal Birkdale - Southport, Britain - July 20, 2017 Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo hits his tee shot on the fifth hole during the first round REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Grillo fired a four-under-par 68 to get to 11-under total after two rounds at Gurgaon’s DLF Golf and Country Club and looked set to take a commanding lead into round three.

But Race to Dubai Rankings leader Sharma surged into contention with six birdies on the back-nine to sign for a 64.

Sharma, 21, fresh off a tied-ninth finish at last week’s WGC-Mexico Championship, capped a dramatic turnaround considering he was five-over after his first nine holes on Thursday.

“Today’s round will definitely rank up there as one of my most significant achievements, especially when it is played at this course,” Sharma, who will make his major debut at next month’s U.S. Masters, said.

“If you told me I would be seven under par going into the weekend after being five over par on my opening nine holes yesterday, I would just have laughed.

“To be able to bounce back is really important, I knew I was playing well and I had to push myself a little.”

Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal and England’s Andrew Johnston shared the third spot at six-under after rounds of 71 and 66 respectively.

Swede Jens Dantorp, England’s Matt Wallace, South African Keith Horne and Thai Panuphol Pittayarat were at five under, a shot clear of a group including France’s Sebastien Gros, Dutchman Joost Luiten and American Paul Peterson.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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