Golf: Sharma closes in on maiden tour win at Joburg Open

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India's Shubhanker Sharma produced a birdie-fuelled 65 to claim a five-shot lead at the European Tour's Joburg Open on Saturday to enter the final round with an excellent chance of claiming a maiden professional title.

Sharma, 21, who carded a 61 on Friday and has a previous best finish on the European Tour of tied-ninth at the Maybank Championship in Kuala Lumpur in February, sank seven birdies and has a tournament total of 20 under par, five shots ahead of second-placed Swede Christofer Blomstrand.

Celebrating his 26th birthday, Blomstrand got the perfect present when he carded a 62 that even included two bogeys but also eight birdies and two eagles.

Overnight leader Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland had a round to forget as he could manage only a 73 on a day of low scores to enter the final round seven shots back.

The top three finishers at the Randpark Golf Club, who are not already exempt, will earn a place at next year's Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Links.

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