Brilliant Bhullar Leads by Two

Sat 25 Jul 2009

Brilliant Bhullar Leads by Two


Jakarta, July 25: India's Gaganjeet Bhullar fired a sparkling 10-under-par 62 to open up a two-shot lead in the weather-hit third round at the Indonesia President Invitational on Saturday.

The 21-year-old Bhullar, chasing his first Asian Tour title, compiled a blemish-free card with 10 birdies, holing out an audacious closing birdie on the 18th hole in fading light for a three-day total of 17-under-par 199 at the Damai Indah Golf - Bumi Serpong Damai course.

It gave the talented Indian a great chance to avenge his loss in the US$400,000 event two years ago when he was beaten by one stroke by Filipino Juvic Pagunsan's birdie, eagle finish.


Australian Adam Blyth is lying in second place on 15-under-par where he was four under through 12 holes of his third round when play was suspended at 6pm. A lightning storm in the early afternoon forced a four-hour suspension, which will mean 27 players will resume their rounds at 6.45am on Sunday.

Korea's Ted Oh was also in the title hunt for his maiden victory, lying on 14-under-par through 14 holes where he was five-under for the day while Thailand's Thammanoon Srirot, who won on this course in 1996, was a further shot back after charging into contention by getting to six-under through 16 holes. He has an eight foot birdie putt on the 17th green in the morning.

It was déjà vu for Bhullar all over the again. "It feels almost like 2007 again, but there is still one day to go, 18 more holes to go," said the highly rated Bhullar, who was the joint third round leader two years ago.

"I'm confident going into the final round and I'm hitting the ball well. I'm not thinking about a victory but I just hope to play like I played today. I didn't know if I was going to finish or not but I took the chance. I hit a good driver on the 18th fairway in the dark and I had no clue where my ball was. It was same for my second shot where I hit it straight but I couldn't see my ball landing but it was fine as it landed about 15 feet and I two putted from there safely (for birdie). I'm just happy I finished," said Bhullar, who competed in his maiden British Open last week.

With lightning storms disrupting play for the past two days, Blyth knows it could come down to a mental test on Sunday if he is to break through for his first Asian Tour victory. "It is a test with the stops and restarts. We've got five holes left for tomorrow and we'll see what we can do but Bhullar is playing really well," said Blyth, who is 10th on the Asian Tour's Order of Merit.

"You just have to eat and drink right and get the energy up for a long day and take things really slowly and in my own time, just to keep the mental side fresh. I'm swinging it really well. There are a lot of birdie chances out there."

Two months after missing a short putt for a maiden title, Korea's Oh is excited that he has another crack at ending his winless streak. He was delighted to post five birdies in the interrupted round.


"We've had this many times (in Asia) and you kind of know what to expect and I knew how the course was going to be when I got out there again. You just have to stay patient and make sure you're not tired and stay calm," said Oh.

"My goal is to try and make a lot of birdies tomorrow. I've been playing well and I'm swinging it really well."

Thammanoon, a five-time winner in the region but without a title since 2004, hopes to replay his feat of 1996 where he won at the Jack Nicklaus-designed course. He will have an eight foot putt for birdie to edge closer to the leader tomorrow morning.


"I played real nice on the front nine to go out in 30 but after the four hour wait, I started on the 11th and then three putted for bogey. All the waiting is not good for me but I think I still have a chance at the title tomorrow," he said.

Leading third round scores

199 - Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND) 69-68-62

204 - Bae Sang-moon (KOR) 76-64-64

206 - Noh Seung-yul (KOR) 72-68-66, Lu Wei-chih (TPE) 70-71-65, Son Joon-eob (KOR) 73-65-68

207 - James Kamte (RSA) 69-71-67, Scott Hend (AUS) 70-69-68, Jason King (AUS) 74-68-65

208 - Darren Beck (AUS) 66-73-69, Kim Young-jin (KOR) 72-66-70

209 - Wu Ashun (CHN) 70-70-69, Juvic Pagunsan (PHI) 74-67-68, Mardan Mamat (SIN) 74-65-70

210 - Amandeep Johl (IND) 70-70-70, Andrew Dodt (AUS) 73-67-70, Tony Carolan (AUS) 71-68-71


(Note: 27 players to resume third round at 6.45am Sunday)

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 ESPN Star Sports (Official Regional TV Broadcaster), Pin High (Official Apparel Partner), Ricoh (Official Office Solutions Provider) and Srixon (Official Ball). Sentosa, Singapore's premier island resort getaway, is the Home of the Asian Tour.