Bhullar Stays Ahead in Macau

Fri 12 Oct 2012

Bhullar Stays Ahead in Macau


Macau, October 12: Gaganjeet Bhullar of India maintained his overnight advantage in the early stages of the second round of the Venetian Macau Open on Friday, shooting a three-under-par 68 to lead from Thai newcomer Thitiphun Chuayprakong.

After the fireworks of his opening round where he shot a superb 63, Bhullar was a bit more subdued in his second round with four birdies overcoming an opening bogey at the Macau Golf and Country Club.

The 20-year-old Thitiphun moved into contention with an impassive bogey-free 66 for second place while countryman Thongchai Jaidee was a further shot back after a 68 alongside Filipino star Angelo Que, Bangladeshi Siddikur and Kieran Pratt of Australia.

“Not as good as yesterday but considering the conditions right now, it’s not a bad score,” said Bhullar. “I could have done much better but there is a lot of golf left. Hit the ball good but had some bad luck. Had two or three lip outs.”

Bhullar was delighted to maintain his rich vein of form where he has won once and finished second and ninth in his last five starts.   “It always feels good to play in the leader group week after week,” he said.

“It proves the standard of golf is improving. It’ll be nice. I’m looking forward to playing for the weekend. I’ll take the same strategy as the first two days. I’m just going to stick to my routine and my process and see what happens this weekend,” said the three-time Asian Tour winner.

Thitiphun, one of many emerging young Thais on the Asian Tour, scrambled well to keep the bogeys off his card as he moved two shots of the leader. “Missed a few shots but I got up and down for pars on three occasions which was good. Bogey free around here, I’m happy,” said the bubbly Thai.

“Last year, I played here for the first time and I was many over par. It’s a tough course but the last two days, we’ve not had much winds which makes it easier.”

With proven champions in the title hunt, Thitiphun admits to feeling the nerves but he thinks he can sustain his title push. “Last year was my first time on the Asian Tour and I think I have learned from my experience.

“Mentally, I think I’m better now. I think I’ll be a bit nervous tomorrow, seeing names like Thongchai Jaidee and Gaganjeet Bhullar. But I feel I have a chance. Thongchai is my idol and I hope to have a chance to play with him.”

Que, a three-time Asian Tour winner, did not require a practice round to chart his way up the leaderboard with an eagle and six birdies on the card.

“For this event, I’ve been flying in on Wednesday for the past few years. I’ve played this course since 2003 and it’s pretty much the same course every year. If you can’t hit the fairways and don’t know what you’re doing, it’s a tough course. If you’re confident with your game, you can manage your game around here,” said Que.

“On the back nine where I started, I was hitting good shots but I didn’t get lucky. Wasn’t holing any putts. I told my caddie and myself that I’m hitting it well and to keep doing what I’m doing and I’ll make the birdies.

“It was a straight forward eagle (on two) but it jump-started my back nine. Four more birdies after that.”

He has now made seven straight cuts since the resumption of the second half of the Asian Tour

“I’ve never done this, play seven weeks in a row. I normally play up to five in a row. Back in the day, I would just play and not think. I would be like a zombie or a robot, just doing things every day. This year, I sort of planned it better. I get to go home for a few days before going out again and that’s put my mind at ease. I don’t think about golf all the time. I think it’s all about planning. I think I’m mature enough now to learn how to deal with these things.

“When I see my family, especially my daughter, even though I’m so tired, I don’t feel it when I’m home. I think if I go home more often, I feel better.”