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Shubhankar Sharma's remarkable rise continued to gather pace at the WGC-Mexico Championship as he claimed a two-shot halfway lead at Chapultepec Golf Club.

Bland is at 5-under and T14 with 36 holes to play but it is the 21-year-old from India who is the surprise performer so far, the only player double digits under par after opening scores of 66-65.

He was at 11-under 131, two ahead of Masters champion Sergio Garcia, Xander Schauffele and Rafa Cabrera Bello.

South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen fired an eagle and five birdies in a seven-under-par 64 on Thursday to take the first-round lead in the WGC Mexico Championship.

Sharma, the only two-time victor on the European Tour this season who leads the Race to Dubai, is No. 75 in the world.

"I worked all my life to come and play at a high stage like this".

'To be honest, I'm actually relaxed now, he said.

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.

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Already twice a victor this season on the European Tour, the 21-year-old said, 'I'm really pleased with the way I played.

The Masters has a tradition of occasionally inviting a non-exempt Asian player, raising the intriguing possibility that Sharma might yet receive a prized summons, even if he doesn't qualify automatically.

Shubhankar Sharma made an eye-opening World Golf Championships debut as the Indian prospect carded a six-under-par 65 in the first round. "So I just wanted to have fun".

"Practising with all these good players on the range, [Jordan] Spieth was right behind me, and after a couple shots just stepped back and watched and then Dustin [Johnson] replaced him, so it's like I couldn't ask for anything better. But I'm very happy with the way I've managed myself and just looking forward to the next two days".

"I just kept the ball in play", Sharma said.

"I felt like I didn't have a whole lot of control today but I putted really well", he said.

The five birdies he picked up on the back nine, including at the final three holes, helped him stamp his authority on the event.

He started his first round with an eagle on the par-four first hole, but quickly bogeyed the second and third.


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