Taipei: India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar (66) was one shot behind the leader Angelo Que (65) of the Philippines, to be tied second, at the end of the first round of the Yeangder Tournament Players Championship (TPC) on Thursday.
Bhullar’s compatriot Anirban Lahiri was two shots further behind in fifth place at 68.
As Que produced a flawless seven-under-par 65, Bhullar and Jason Knutzon posted matching 66s to share second place while favourite Lin Wen-tang of Chinese Taipei fired a 67 to secure fourth place.
Knutzon had the honour of recording the event’s first hole-in-one on the fifth hole. Lahiri is in fifth place with Chinese Taipei’s Yeh Wei-tze after he signed for a 68. Other Indians in the field include Himmat Rai (71) in tied 20th, Ajeetesh Sandhu (73) at tied 63rd, Chiragh Kumar (74) at tied 82nd and Digvijay Singh (75) at tied 100th.
Despite playing at the 7125-yard Linkou International Golf and Country Club for the first time, Bhullar showed he could adapt well. “I’m playing here for the first time. Trust me, I’m falling in love with the course layout. The greens kind of remind me of home, in India where I practised,” said the two-time Asian Tour winner.
Bhullar also enjoyed a bogey-free round, which was highlighted by an eagle on the par-five first and four birdies. He believes his aggression on the course will set him up well for the rest of the week.
“I’m an aggressive player and I’ve been striking the ball very well. I’m also feeling really comfortable around the greens. I would love to continue this form for the next three days and would be glad if I can win the trophy on Sunday,” said Bhullar.
Lahiri said that the morning conditions were good. “The weather was overcast so it wasn’t very hot. It wasn’t very windy either. Because the sky was a little overcast, the greens were a little bit moist so it was soft.
“I think it was good playing conditions and it’s great to see guys shooting 6 and 7 under on this course. It’s not an easy course,” he said. “These kind of playing conditions definitely suits my game better. Maybe because I played the Pro-Am and hitting balls yesterday, I feel like my game has opened up today in this kind of weather.”