Jakarta, Nov 17: Gaganjeet Bhullar must have been disappointed at his card of 4-under as he was 4-under through the first eight holes in the second round of the BNI Indonesian Masters. Still, with rounds of 63-67 he is 12-under 130 and three shots clear of the field.
Seven of the 11 Indians who started this week made the cut with two others S Chikkarangappa (71-65) and Veer Ahlawat (69-67) at Tied-eighth.
Bhullar, who has four wins in Indonesia from the 10 he has on the Asian Tour, bogeyed the 17th and only managed a par on Par-5 18th. He is now in sight of a fifth win in Indonesia at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club, in the final International Series event of the year.
He leads by three from Canadian Richard T. Lee, who also shot a 67, and by four from American Patrick Reed, in with a 68. Lee is seeking his first win in six years.
Chikkarangappa shot a superb 65 including five birdies in a six-hole run from the second to the seventh and added two more but closed with a bogey.
Of the seven Indians, who made the cut, the other four were Rashid Khan (69-68) and Karandeep Kochhar (69-68) in Tied-21st, Honey Baisoya (65-73) in T-29 and Anirban Lahiri, who birdied the last three holes on his second nine, which was the front stretch of the course. Lahiri was T-55 and 2-under, which was also the cut line.
The Indians missing the cut were Ajeetesh Sandhu (70-71), Yashas Chandra (69-72), SSP Chawrasia (69-73) and Shiv Kapur (77-71).
Bhullar after a 63 on the first day started strongly with four birdies in his first eight. He then had two more birdies but also gave away two shots. He dropped his first shot of the week on the ninth and another on 17.
Bhullar’s most recent win on the Asian Tour came at the Mandiri Indonesia Open in August last year. He first won in Indonesia 14 years ago in 2009. Of his success in Indonesia, he commented: “I personally feel that it could be the weather, it could be some sort of thing to do with the greens, with the grass, with the size of fairways or probably the size of rough.”
“I drove the ball really well yesterday and today,” said Bhullar, who chipped in twice today. “I think one factor which really led me to where I am, 12 under after two rounds, is my driving ability. In the last two rounds I think I only missed two fairways. The more fairways you hit you give yourself more opportunities to be closer to the flag, and that’s what I did yesterday and today.”
Reed, the 2018 Masters champion, birdied two out of his last four, including the last. Korea’s Seungtaek Lee (65), American Micah Lauren Shin (66), Thailand’s Gunn Charoenkul (68), and Zach Murray (68) from Australia are joint fourth, five behind Bhullar.
Defending champion Sarit Suwannarut from Thailand had to withdraw earlier in day, suffering from a migraine.