Sharma ties Leishman, Woodland atop CIMB

Marc Leishman of Australia and Gary Woodland were joined at the top of the leaderboard by playing partner Shubhankar Sharma of India after three rounds of the CIMB Classic.

Sharma, trying to become the second player from India to win on the PGA Tour, collected seven birdies in a 6-under-par 66, while 36-hole co-leaders Woodland and Leishman each had 67s on the West Course at TPC Kuala Lumpur in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

“Good thing is that I’ve been in this position before so I know what happens and what my mind goes through, so I’ll just try and relax myself as much as possible,” said Sharma, who won the Joburg Open in December on the Asian Tour and the Malaysian Championship on the European Tour in February.

“The way I’m playing, I’m pretty sure I’ll play well tomorrow as well.”

Sharma is trying to join Arjun Atwal, who became the first winner from India on the circuit when he captured the 2010 Wyndham Championship.

Woodland, who claimed his third PGA Tour victory in the Waste Management Phoenix Open last February, birdied four of the first eight holes and also No. 18 to finish in the three-way tie at 19-under-197.

Leishman eagled the third hole and held the lead on his own after adding five birdies on the first 10 holes, but made two bogeys on the back nine.

“Happy with the round, gave myself a good chance tomorrow, so hopefully I can be hot like I was that first 10 holes today,” said Leishman, another three-time winner on the PGA Tour.

Said Woodland: “Kind of got a little loose there a little bit on the back nine, maybe ran out of gas a little, but it was nice to finish up with a birdie and get some momentum going into tomorrow.”

Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa shot 65 and is two strokes back in a tie for fourth with first-round leader Bronson Burgoon, who had a 67, while Austin Cook is another shot back in sixth following a 68.

Stewart Cink birdied the last three holes in a bogey-free 63 and is four down in a tie for seventh with Charles Howell III (65), Chesson Hadley (66), J.B. Holmes (67), Emiliano Grillo (67) of Argentina, and Nick Watney (68) of Davis and Fresno State.

Fourth-ranked Justin Thomas, who won the CIMB in 2015 and 2016, is tied for 19th after a 69, while defending champion Pat Perez of San Diego shot 71 and is tied for 42nd.

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