Bhullar Stays Ahead in Macau

Fri 12 Oct 2012

Bhullar Stays Ahead in Macau


Macau, October 12: India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar continued to roll the right numbers to stay two-shots clear of Thai duo Prom Meesawat and Thitiphun Chuayprakong at the US$750,000 Venetian Macau Open on Friday.

The 24-year-old Indian, chasing his second Asian Tour title within the space of a month, battled to a three-under-par 68 at the Macau Golf and Country Club to lead the popular Asian Tour event on 11-under-par 131.


Thitiphun, 20, fired an impressive 66 to jump into tied second place with countryman Prom, who produced two chip-in birdies in his round of 68.

Filipino star Angelo Que (66), Thai ace Thongchai Jaidee (68), Bangladeshi Siddikur (68), Adilson Da Silva of Brazil (66) and Australia’s Kieran Pratt (68) are a further shot back in the event which is title sponsored for the first time by The Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel.

After an opening round of 63, overnight leader Bhullar was somewhat more subdued with four birdies against an opening bogey today. He took 29 putts over the tricky Macau layout but extended his recent good form which has yielded two top-10s and a win at the Yeangder Tournament Players Championship in Taipei.

“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, ranked sixth on the Order of Merit, was delighted to maintain his dominance in Macau as he chases a fourth Asian Tour title. “It always feels good to play in the leader group week after week. It proves the standard of golf is improving. I’m looking forward to playing in the weekend. I’m just going to stick to my routine and process and see what happens,” he said.

Thitiphun, one of many emerging young Thais, scrambled well to keep the bogeys off his card. “I missed a few shots but I got up and down on three occasions. Bogey free around here, I’m happy,” said the bubbly Thai, who turned professional when he was 16.

The youngster reckons he will be nervous over the weekend but is hopeful he can sustain his title push. “Last year was my first time on Tour and I think I have learned from my experience. Mentally, I’m better now. I’ll be a bit nervous tomorrow, seeing names like Thongchai Jaidee and Gaganjeet Bhullar. But I feel I have a chance.”

The burly Prom stayed in touch with Bhullar, thanks to some hot iron play which produced two chip-in birdies on 11 and 18. “I struggled, especially with my putting in the first five holes. But I got it back, had a good finish on the back nine with a two under. My driving wasn’t good and I didn’t have the confidence. I’ll need to fix it at the range,” said Prom, who is seventh on the Merit list.

Que, a three-time Asian Tour winner, showed he did not require a practice round to chart his way up the leaderboard with an eagle and six birdies on the card. “I’ve played this course since 2003 and it’s pretty much the same course every year. If you’re confident with your game, you can manage your game around here,” said Que, who came home in 30.

“I was hitting good shots but I didn’t get lucky and wasn’t holing any putts early on. It was a straight forward eagle (on two) from 15 feet but it jump-started my back nine and I had four more birdies after that.”

Chinese legend Zhang Lian-wei, a two-time Macau Open champion, maintained his proud record of making every cut since 1998 with a 72 leaving him on 141, the same score as title holder Chan Yih-shin of Chinese Taipei, who fired a 68.

Veteran Welshman Ian Woosnam, a former Masters Tournament winner, carded a 72 to lie on 140. The halfway cut was set at 143 with 76 players progressing into the final two rounds.

About The Venetian® Macao-Resort-Hotel

Founded in 2007, The Venetian® Macao-Resort-Hotel is Macao's first integrated resort featuring stunning replicas of the famous canals and architectural icons of Venice, Italy. The Venetian Macao features 3,000 suites, 1.2 million square feet (111,000 square metres) of convention and meeting facilities as well as a 15,000-seat CotaiArena designed for world-class sports events and electrifying entertainment. The Venetian Macao is also home to the unique, 1,800-seat luxury Venetian Theatre, hosting the best in international and Chinese entertainment; more than 30 renowned restaurants; MALO Clinic Health & Wellness; the incredibly fun Qube indoor playground and more than 300 retailers at Shoppes Grand Canal. Outdoor recreation areas include swimming pools and cabanas and a mini-golf course.

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About the Asian Tour

As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), BlackBerry (Official Communications Partner), Cityneon (Official Event Overlay Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.