Gaganjeet Bhullar. Pic: Asian Tour
Jakarta, November 18: Gaganjeet Bhullar strung together his second card of 63 in three days despite a late bogey to more than double his lead with one more round to go in the IS $ 1.5 million BNI Indonesian Masters. Bhullar, who began the day with a three-shot lead, carded 8-under 63 and moved to 20-under, seven shots ahead of the young Spaniard David Puig (62) who with his amazing effort moved to 13-under.
A four time winner in Indonesia, the 35-year-old Bhullar took a decisive step towards his fifth success in the country. After three birdies between the fourth and ninth, he had back-to-back gains on 11th-12th and then again on 14th and 15th. A dropped shot on 16th was followed by a closing birdie for a 63, following in on his 63-67 on the first two days.
Indians had a great moving day as Veer Ahlawat (65) moved to tied-third at 12-under and the in-form Karandeep Kochhar had two great stretches of three birdies in a row, which was bettered by four-in-row on the back nine during his 65 that carried him to 65 and Tied-sixth.
S Chikkarangappa (68) was T-13 at 9-under, while Rashid Khan (71) was T-40, Honey Baisoya (73) was T-58 and Anirban Lahiri (77) was T-70.
Tied at third at 12-under with Ahlawat were last week’s winner in Hong Kong, Kiwi Ben Campbell (63) and Canadian Richard T Lee (68).
Bhullar has always been a strong front runner and three of his 10 wins have been start-to-finish and he could well make it to four.
“I think, as I said yesterday, the goal was to keep the ball in play from the tee and hit it close from the fairway,” said Bhullar, whose other wire-to-wire wins came in the Macao Open in 2012 and 2017 and the 2013 Indonesia Open.
“And then the goal is to putt better, and today I putted really well. I missed the shortest birdie putt of the week on number three, which was like three feet, I think after that, that just kind of motivated me to read the lines properly and just some sort of a trigger in my mind. And I think after that I just kept reading the lines properly and the pace was really good today.”
Of his four wins in Indonesia, three have been in the country’s national Open, in 2013, 2016 and in August last year – which is his most recent win on the Asian Tour – while he first tasted victory on Indonesian soil at the Indonesia President Invitational 14 years ago.
Puig’s brilliant bogey free 62 is the lowest round of the week, although it could not officially count as one of the lowest in the event’s history as preferred lies were played.