India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar had two closing birdies to thank for giving him the second-round lead when play finally resumed at the weather-shortened Yeangder Tournament Players Championship in Linkuo, New Taipei City, yesterday.
The 24-year-old Indian battled to a three-under 69 to take a slender advantage over 14-time Asian Tour winner Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand.
Bhullar has compiled a two-day total of nine-under 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 US returned with a 68 and 71 respectively to share third.
Taiwan’s Yeh Wei-tze shot a 72 to place joint seventh on four-under 140, while compatriot Sung Mao-chang was a shot further back in a group in joint 10th along with Wu Wen-ting and Hung Chien-yao.
Starting the day in equal second, 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 after marking his card with another birdie on the 10th hole, but 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,” Bhullar said.
However, two birdies on the 17th and 18th holes changed the complexion of his round.
“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,” Bhullar said.
“The final 18 is going to be interesting, as it has been a long time since I last played with Thaworn,” he said.
Additional reporting by Staff writer