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Bhullar in command

- Gaganjeet takes two-shot lead with 64
Gaganjeet Bhullar, on Thursday

Jakarta: Gaganjeet Bhullar, who won the first of his four Asian Tour titles in Jakarta, revived those happy memories as he charged into a two-shot lead at the Indonesia Open after shooting an opening seven-under-par 64, here, on Thursday.

Bhullar, who won the Indonesia President Invitational four years ago here, is playing in his 10th straight event.

He held an edge over the chasing pack after shooting a flawless round highlighted by seven birdies at the $7,50,000 Asian Tour event. Among other Indians, Sujjan Singh (67), whose sole international win has been in Indonesia last year, was tied eighth, while Jyoti Randhawa (69) was 22nd and Abhinav Lohan (70) was 30th.

It was disappointing for Anirban Lahiri (71) at 43rd and Shiv Kapur (72) and SSP Chowrasia (72), who were both tied 59th. Ajeetesh Sandhu and Himmat Rai (73 each), Chiragh Kumar (74) and Rahil Gangjee (75) will need solid second rounds to make the cut.

Playing in Indonesia has brought out the best in Bhullar, who missed only one fairway and was equally dominant on the greens where he made 27 putts. Ranked sixth on the Order of Merit, Bhullar burst into the sole lead when he sank five straight birdies from the fourth hole.

“The way I’ve been striking the ball from the first tee, I knew I could go low because my striking was right up there. Once my putts started falling, that's when I went really low,” said the four-time Asian Tour winner.

Bhullar insists that he has prepared to make amends after finishing last among the elite 60-man field at the World Cup of Golf in Australia last week.

“Mentally I know that I always try to win every tournament I play in. I didn’t play bad at all last week. It was just a matter of a few bad bounces. I wasn’t upset with my performance because I was hitting the ball good. It is only a matter of time before my short game improved and it happened on Thursday,” said Bhullar.       

       (PTI)