India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar had two closing birdies to thank for giving him the second round lead when play finally resumed at the Yeangder Tournament Players Championship Sunday.
The 24-year-old Indian battled to a three-under-par 69 to take a slender shot advantage over 14-time Asian Tour winner Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand after compiling a two-day total of nine-under-par 135 at the Linkou International Golf and Country Club.
Thaworn took second place when he signed for the round’s lowest score of 66 to pile the pressure on Bhullar while Berry Henson and Jason Knutzon of the United States returned with a 68 and 71, respectively, to share third place.
Starting the day in equal second place, Bhullar got off to a commanding start with an opening birdie, followed by an eagle on the fifth hole. He dropped a shot on the seventh before reaching the turn with a three-shot lead over the chasing pack.
Bhullar appeared to be cruising home after marking his card with another birdie on the 10th hole.
However, a double-bogey six on the 14th led to some anxious moments for the two-time Asian Tour winner.
“I hit it to the right of the woods and laid it up short of the green. The lie was too fluffy and my club just went underneath. I was four-on and then I had like a five-footer to save five but I missed that,” said Bhullar.
Two birdies on the 17th and 18th holes however managed to provide that much-needed relief for Bhullar.
“Trust me. The last two birdies were definitely much needed to ease the pressure. I played well today considering the last two days I was just sitting in my room and couldn’t do anything,” said Bhullar.
Although Bhullar is standing on the verge of winning his third Asian Tour title with 18 holes to play, he remains wary of Thaworn who lurks closely.
“The final 18 is going to be interesting as it has been a long time since I last played with Thaworn,” said Bhullar.
The third and final round will be played Monday after inclement weather Saturday forced play to be abandoned and left tournament officials with no choice but to reduce the US$500,000 event into a 54-stroke play tournament.
Scores after round two:
135 - Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND) 66-69.
136 - Thaworn Wiratchant (THA) 70-66.
137 - Jason Knutzon (USA) 66-71, Berry Henson (USA) 69-68.
139 - David Lipsky (USA) 72-67, Marcus Both (AUS) 71-68.
140 - Yeh Wei-tze (TPE) 68-72, Gavin Flint (AUS) 70-70, Angelo Que (PHI) 65-75.
141 - Hung Chien-yao (TPE) 72-69, Himmat Rai (IND) 71-70, Sung Mao-chang (TPE) 74-67, Gunn Charoenkul (THA) 74-67, Mars Pucay (PHI) 72-69, Kim Gi-whan (KOR) 70-71, Namchok Tantipokhakul (THA) 69-72, Wu Wen-ting (TPE) 74-67.