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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Garcia and Schauffele likely to stay well in hunt down Mexico way

Sharma sets the pace at halfway stage

Shubhankar Sharma was 200-1 at the start of the week
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Sky Sports Golf, 5pm

Shubhankar Sharma leads the Mexico Championship by two shots at the halfway stage, the 21-year-old Indian making a dream start to his first World Golf Championship event.

Sharma, who leads the Race to Dubai but was a 200-1 rag for Mexico, eagled his first hole of round two at the Chapultepec Club and carded a 66 to follow his Thursday 65. The youngest player in the field is perched atop the leaderboard.

Sharma, winner of the Joburg Open and the Maybank Championship in the last three months, is still available at 15-2 for Mexico glory. His Joburg triumph was at altitude, like Chapultepec, and the tree-lined Mexico layout plays to his strength of precision. Bookmakers are probably wise to be dangling such a juicy price, though, given the quality the inexperienced pacesetter must repel over the weekend.

Masters champion, Sergio Garcia, loves this course and is tied for second place. The Spaniard could be winning the Mexico Championship in a similar way to how Dustin Johnson did last year – through relentlessly solid ball-striking. Johnson missed countless short putts 12 months ago, yet was still victorious, and Garcia would be well in front this week had his putting been anything like as good as his approach work.

Tour Championship winner Xander Schauffele is the only player in the field without a drop-shot on his 36-hole scorecard. Schauffele makes hardly mistakes from tee to green and is another huge title threat.

In-running outright punters should expect Garcia (11-2) and Schauffele (9-1) to hang around on the leaderboard to set up a winning chance on Sunday. Dustin Johnson (11-2), Pat Perez (33-1) and Jordan Spieth (22-1) seem the most likely to make a charge at Sharma from just off the pace.

Third-round threeball punters are pointed towards Branden Grace, who is comfortable performing at altitude, has started the season in decent nick, and should approach Saturday in much better spirits than his playing partners in the 4.20pm UK and Ireland time match.

Molinari is fuming about being given a 'bad time' for slow play by the US Tour and was two over par for his final seven holes, while Paisley dropped like a stone by covering his final nine holes in five over. Grace, the best player in the group, looks juicy at 11-8.

Garcia, against Brian Harman and Louis Oosthuizen at 6.08pm, and Schauffele, against Sharma and Rafael Cabrera-Bello at 6.20pm, are recommendations for the final two threeballs.

Recommendations
B Grace
2pts 11-8 BoyleSports, Hills
S Garcia
2pts 11-8 BoyleSports, Hills
X Schauffele
2pts 7-5 BoyleSports


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Xander Schauffele is the only player in the field without a drop-shot
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