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In-form Gaganjeet Bhullar shares lead at Indonesia Open

Bhullar had six birdies, a hole-in-one against a double bogey and a late bogey on 16th.

IANS | Jakarta |

Gaganjeet Bhullar launched his title defence in Indonesia Open by getting to five-under-par through 17 holes in the opening round, which had to stopped due to darkness, here on Wednesday.

Bhullar, who clinched the Macao Open last week, even had a hole-in-one on the par-3 12th, as he went through the four- hole stretch from 10th to 13th in five-under.

Bhullar had six birdies, a hole-in-one against a double bogey and a late bogey on 16th.

His efforts matched that of his playing partner Stephen Leaney of Australia, American Jason Knutzon and local hope Danny Masrin, who are all five-under.

While Bhullar and Leaney have one more hole each, Knutzon and Masrin have two holes left at the Pondok Indah Golf Course.

The round, which will be completed on Friday morning as darkness stopped play.

Another Indian Udayan Mane, who has the same coach, Vijay Divecha, as Anirban Lahiri, was four-under through 15 holes.

Among other Indians, Ajeetesh Sandhu and Khalin Joshi carded one-under 71 each to be T-29th. Also shooting 71 and T-29th was Daniel Chopra.

Arjun Prasad, Himmat Rai and Honey Baisoya shot 72 each to be T-45th.

Baisoya starting on 10th was four-under through 15 holes, before running into a triple bogey on Par-4 seventh and a bogey on eighth.

Sujjan Singh (75) in T-82nd, Jyoti Randhawa (76) in T- 99th and Jeev Milkha Singh (78) in T-118th were in danger of missing the cut. Aman Raj at four-over through 14 was also in danger of exiting early.

Bhullar fired three birdies in his opening six holes before stumbling with a double-bogey on the seventh hole to turn in 35, just before play was suspended.

The 29-year-old Indian, however, caught fire after returning to the course, capping a birdie-birdie-hole in one- birdie run from the 10th hole before dropping a shot on 16.

Bhullar aced the par-three 12th hole with an eight-iron from 172 yards. It was his fifth hole-in-one in his professional career and second in a tournament.

“I have had five hole-in-ones so far, this is my second during a tournament. It was on hole 12, 172 meters out and I hit an eight iron. It was a lucky shot that landed just five feet away from the pin and then rolled in,” said Bhullar.

“I made the turn at one-under-par, and then birdied the 10th and 11th that gave me a boost. I then made the hole-in- one on 12th, continued to make a birdie on hole 13 with a long 30-foot-putt, so that was a good stretch of holes for me. I did not do anything during the suspension, just had my lunch and was ready to go.”

Bhullar, a two-time winner of the Indonesia Open in 2013 and 2016, is chasing for a hat-trick at the storied event.

Last week Bhullar claimed his eighth Asian Tour title in Macao last week and became the youngest player to win eight times on the region’s premier Tour. Out of Bhullar’s eight victories, three were secured in Indonesia.

Play was suspended at 2.25pm local time due to lightning threats before resuming an hour and 20 minutes later. It was later abandoned for the day at 5.42pm due to fading light.

A total of 28 players will resume their rounds at 6.10am on Friday, with the second round to commence at 6.15am as per scheduled.