Gaganjeet Bhullar and (inset) Richard Lee. Pic: Asian Tour
Rabat, Morocco, November 4: Gaganjeet Bhullar led a group of seven Indians into the weekend rounds of the International Series Morocco at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam. Bhullar, a nine-time winner on the Asian Tour, and a one-time winner on the European Tour, added 1-under 72 on the Par-73 Red Course and was even par for 36 holes. He was lying tied 27th and was the best Indian.
SSP Chawrasia (73-74) and Aman Raj (74-73) were tied 32nd, Jyoti Randhawa (73-75) was tied 39th, Viraj Madappa (75-74) and Karandeep Kochhar (75-74) were tied 50th and Ajeetesh Sandhu (74-76) was tied 62nd.
The Indians missing the cut were Veer Ahlawat (76-79), S Chikkarangappa (79-77) and Honey Baisoya (76-81).
Canadian Richard T. Lee fired a classy eight-under-par 65 to take the halfway lead at the US$1.5 million event. Thailand’s Nitithorn Thippong returned a 72 and is in second place two back, while Australian Scott Hend and Spaniard David Puig are a stroke further behind after carding 69 and 70 respectively.
Bhullar, who found a lot of fairways, but missed a lot of putts – needing 34 in the first round – was less accurate off the off the tee on the second day. But he went through his round in 27 putts.
Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond (70) and Rattanon Wannasrichan (71), Zimbabwe’s Scott Vincent (71) and Englishman Steve Lewton (73) are another stroke adrift.
Lee, the 32-year-old two-time winner on the Asian Tour, who spent four days in Dubai to acclimatise himself, eagled the par-five fifth, made three birdies in a row from the 10th, birdied 18 but missed numerous chances, including nearly holing out for an eagle on the sixth, to go even lower.
Nitithorn, 26, won The DGC Open presented by Mastercard in March for his maiden success on the Asian Tour and in August triumphed in the International Series Singapore. He sits in third position on the Tour’s Order of Merit.