India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar put up an outstanding display of golf by signing for a flawless seven-under-par 64 to grab the opening round lead with Korean duo Yikeun Chang and Giwhan Kim at the Macao Open on Thursday.
Bhullar, a former winner of the tournament in 2012, posted seven birdies while Kim was equally impressive at the Macau Golf and Country Club.
Bhullar said after his round that he hit the ball really good. “I just kept on giving myself birdie opportunities and the game went accordingly to my plan. The putter went a bit cold on my back nine. I didn’t hole any birdie putts coming in but I gave myself a lot of good looks,” he said, adding, “There are still a lot of golf left to go. I sank some good long putts for birdies today. I made a 30-footer on 14 and nailed another long birdie putt on 17 from close to 30 feet. I read the line perfectly for those two putts. I also nailed a trickling right to left putt from 15 feet on 11.”
“It was a good solid round overall. It wasn’t easy out there. The wind was just confusing. It was coming from all over the place. Even on my last few holes coming back, the wind was still blowing hard. To shoot a seven-under under these conditions, I am really happy. I think the course condition is the best that I have played here so far. The greens are rolling so good. They are just honest. If you’re stroking the putt well, you will definitely go low this week. The goal is to repeat what I did today and get on to a good momentum for tomorrow,” Gaganjeet Bhullar said.
The 23-year-old Chang fired a superb back-nine 29 highlighted by four birdies and an eagle-two on the third hole.
The in-form Ajeetesh Sandhu of India signaled his strong intentions of winning a third straight title when he signed for a 66 to trail by two shots in fourth place with Thailand’s Danthai Boonma at the US$500,000 Asian Tour event.
Chinese Taipei’s Hung Chien-yao, Filipino ace Angelo Que and Wolmer Murillo of Venezuela, who just won his maiden Asian Development Tour (ADT) title last week, are three shots off the pace in tied-sixth position.
Defending champion Pavit Tangkamolprasert of Thailand battled to a 72 to tie in 47th place while reigning Order of Merit champion Scott Hend of Australia came in a further shot back in tied-65th position at the Macao Open, which is celebrating its 19th edition this week.
Scores after round 1 of the Macao Open being played at the par 71, 6606 Yards Macau GcC course (am – denotes amateur):
64 – Giwhan KIM (KOR), Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND), Yikeun CHANG (KOR).
66 – Ajeetesh SANDHU (IND), Danthai BOONMA (THA).
67 – HUNG Chien-yao (TPE), Angelo QUE (PHI), Wolmer MURILLO (VEN).
68 – Teemu PUTKONEN (FIN), Dodge KEMMER (USA), Natipong SRITHONG (THA), Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA).
69 – Johannes VEERMAN (USA), John CATLIN (USA), Michael BIBAT (PHI), Arie IRAWAN (MAS), Chikkarangappa S. (IND), Josh SALAH (USA), Ryan MCCORMICK (USA), Danny CHIA (MAS), Adilson DA SILVA (BRA), Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA), Shubhankar SHARMA (IND), Jbe KRUGER (RSA).
70 – John Michael O’TOOLE (USA), Chiragh KUMAR (IND), Daniel CHOPRA (SWE), Sam CYR (USA), Rashid KHAN (IND), Chawalit PLAPHOL (THA), Jyoti RANDHAWA (IND), Prom MEESAWAT (THA), Khalin JOSHI (IND), Atthaphon SRIBOONKAEW (THA), Gareth PADDISON (NZL).