Sun, 11 Nov 2012 07:49:15 GMT

Bhullar, Lahiri four shots off lead at Singapore Open



V Krishnaswamy
Singapore, Nov 10 (PTI) Indian golfers Gaganjeet Bhullar and Anirban Lahiri made hay on a sunny day and moved into the top six midway through the third round at the Barclay''s Singapore Open here today.
Bhullar (46 holes) and Lahiri (40 holes) were four shots behind the leader Thomas Bjorn of Denmark, who was nine-under after 39 holes.
The Indian duo will have a fair shot at the title tomorrow, when most of the players will need to play anything between 25 and 33 holes.
Shiv Kapur, the best-placed Indian at four-under after 36 holes, had a bogey and a birdie in the four holes he got in third round, while SSP Chowrasia moved up with two birdies against an opening bogey to get to four-under after 41 holes.
Both were tied 13th alongside Rory McIlroy, who after battling cold and carding 70-70 in two rounds, was two-under through nine holes.
The other Indian to make the cut, Jyoti Randhawa, started his third round from the 10th and had three bogeys against one birdie in his first five holes, but then birdies on sixth and ninth put him back on even par for the day and one-under for 45 holes.
Bhullar almost made no mistakes in the 10 holes he played in the third round. In the second round Bhullar managed a 69 despite his ''unwanted'' excursions at the Sentosa Golf Club.
In the afternoon he was three-under for the first five holes in the third round and played the rest in par to move to five-under for the tournament and four shots away from clubhouse leader Bjorn, who parred each of the three holes he got to play in the third round.
Accompanied by his tennis superstar girlfriend, Caroline Wozniacki, Rory McIlroy, who battled a cold to play 70-70 to be tied 26th after second round, made a big move up with a birdie and an eagle before dropping a double when he found water on sixth. He birdied seventh to make up somewhat and is now four-under after 45 holes and 13th in the clubhouse.
In the second round, Phil Mickelson set back by a double on par-5 seventh, rallied with a three-under 32 on back nine to squeeze inside the cut with rounds of 73 and 70. And then he roared back into action with three birdies and a bogey in four holes to move from cutline to tied 37th.
Lahiri, desperate for a Sunday finish as he has to leave for United States to play the second stage of US PGA Q-School next week, overcame a second hole bogey to log a birdie and then landed an eagle on the fourth to move alongside Bhullar at five-under when play was stopped due to fading light.
This morning, when more than half the field started their second round which was completed around 3 pm, Kapur led a bunch of five Indians into the money rounds, even as six others fell by the wayside. Kapur carded 68 to get to five behind the leader Bjorn (67).
Kapur ploughed his way through hot and humid conditions to play a full round at one stretch. Five-under at one stage, he suffered a bogey on 16th to be four-under 138 in tied seventh after 36 holes.
Coming to finish their second round in the morning, Chowrasia (69) and Lahiri (68) negotiated the remaining holes from Friday''s partial appearance in second round to reach 36 holes in three-under 139 and in tied 11th place.
Bhullar, playing his 11th week in a row, was at two-under 140, while Randhawa struggled through 72 to be one-under 141 and both played their entire 18 holes on second day and then began the third round.
Himmat Rai (69-75) slumped to a triple on par-4 sixth and then despite two other birdies, he bogeyed three times on back nine and crashed out as the cut fell at one-over 143.
Chiragh Kumar (73-72), Shamim Khan (73-73) and Digvijay Singh (74-73) missed the cut, while Rashid Khan retired after first round and Jeev Milkha Singh withdrew because of injury.
Kapur, whose best here has been a fifth place in 2006 and eighth in 2007, said: "I''m happy to have finished it (second round) all in one go. Well, it''s nice and it looks like we will not be playing just three rounds. I got to shoot a really low one to have some kind of chances.
"It would be nice to finish at six or seven under so I can be a little closer to the leaders. I just wanted to give myself a lot of chances and hole occasional putts, that''s all.
The course is long and brutal and it keeps coming at you.
There''s no easy hole out there."
Speaking of his second round, Bhullar said: "Today was one of those rounds where I was hitting all over the map. In other words, I think it could have easily been a 79 or 81.
"But I am proud of the way I fought well. I was all over and I went and saw parts of the course I have never been to. I made a double on the fifth hole and a bogey on the 13th but made good birdies on the nine and 16th with amazing pars on hole 10th, 11th and 12th, 14th and 15th as well."
Still keeping his sense of humour, he added, "I was hitting the ball everywhere and (Y.E.) Yang actually asked if I was alright today and if I slept well last night."
Bjrn carried on from where he left in the first round on Thursday. Even though he did not hit a shot yesterday, he played a bogey-free 67.
The 26-year-old South African George Coetzee shot the tournament''s best of eight-under 63, which was flawless and moved to second place with 24-year-old Englishman Chris Wood (65) at seven-under and two shots behind Bjorn.

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