Golfer Bhullar grabs sole lead at Macao Open

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Macau, Oct 20 (IANS) Indian golfer Gaganjeet Bhullar eagled the 18th and final hole of the second round to score six-under 65 and retain the lead at the top of the Macao Open on Friday.

The 29-year-old signalled his strong intentions to win the prestigious tournament for the second time when he fired one eagle and five birdies against a bogey for a 65 that took his total to 13-under 129.

Bhullar, who held a share of the overnight lead, rolled in four birdies to turn in 31. He picked up another birdie on the 13th hole but stumbled with a lone bogey on the 15th before bouncing back strongly with an eagle-three on the 18th at the Macau Golf and Country Club.

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After a solid drive down the middle of the 18th fairway, the talented Indian hit a superb three-wood second shot from about 270 yards which hit the pin flag before settling two feet from the hole for a tap-in eagle.

“It was a good solid round. It was windy. It wasn’t easy. I thought it was slightly more difficult than yesterday. I made a good par save on the first hole and that kept me going,” Bhullar said in an Asian Tour release.

“I won’t be thinking about winning right now. The goal is to keep doing what I have been doing for the first two rounds. If I can do that, it will be fortunate for me.”

Another Indian, Ajeetesh Sandhu, continued his red-hot form to sign for a 67 and move into an outright second place, keeping up his chase for a third straight victory in three weeks at the $500,000 full-field Asian Tour event.

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Overnight co-leader Giwhan Kim of Korea returned with a 70 to trail by five shots in third place alongside Filipino ace Angelo Que, who posted a bogey-free 67. Thailand’s Prom Meesawat (67) and young Indian Shubhankar Sharma (68) shared fifth place on five-under 137.

Reigning Order of Merit champion Scott Hend of Australia carded a 68 to tie in 20th position on 141 while defending champion Pavit Tangkamolprasert of Thailand battled to a 70 to stay a further shot back in tied-31st place.

A total of 71 players, including an amateur, made the halfway cut set at three-over 145 at the Macao Open, which is celebrating its 19th edition this week.

Among other Indians, Rashid Khan was tied 14th following a second consecutive 70.

Khalin Joshi (71), Chiragh Kumar )72) and S. Chikka (one-over 72) shared the 20th spot on 141 total, while veteran Jyoti Randhawa was tied 39th on 143 total (70-73).

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