Bhullar, who had led from the opening round, marked his card with four birdies against two bogeys, one double-bogey and a triple-bogey to stay ahead by a mere one shot on 10-under-par 203 total at the Macau Golf and Country Club.
The 29-year-old Bhullar is chasing for an eighth victory on the region’s premier Tour, as well as a second Macao Open title and a first win this season at the storied event.
“It was quite difficult out there, not the round that I wanted but there are still 18 more holes to go. I struggled a bit today. I hit the ball pretty good but not as good as I did the last two days. Overall, I think I hung in there.
I made a few big errors today. I had a double-bogey on the fifth and a triple-bogey on 11. Apart from that, I gave my 100 per cent and I am excited about tomorrow. Having the right mindset will be very important for me tomorrow.
I am going to stay positive. I know I am driving the ball well and I am hitting the ball well. I am just expecting myself to hole a lot of putts tomorrow. The goal is to follow my routine in the process. If I am able to do that, I will be able to meet my expectations.
It was great playing with Ajeetesh today. We grew up together and we played a lot of junior golf when we were still amateurs back in India. It’s good to be playing with him again after a very long time. Both of us have seen each other grow as a player and we share a lot of fond memories together”, said Bhullar
Chinese Taipei’s Hung Chien-yao returned with the day’s best score of 65 to share second place with Ajeetesh Sandhu of India, who carded a 71 to keep up his chase for a third career victory in three weeks, at the US$500,000 Asian Tour event.
In-form Wolmer Murillo of Venezuela signed for a 66 to stay two shots off the lead in fourth place with Filipino ace Angelo Que, who posted a 71, at the Macao Open, which is celebrating its 19th edition this week.
American Johannes Veerman and Korean Giwhan Kim shared sixth place on 208 following respective rounds of 69 and 74 while defending champion Pavit Tangkamolprasert of Thailand bounced back with a 67 to lie a further shot back in tied-eighth position.
Did you know?
- Bhullar held the 54-hole lead for the second time at the Macao Open. The last time he held the third-round lead was in 2012, where he went on to seal a wire-to-wire victory. He had led by one with 18 holes to play in 2012.
- Out of his seven Asian Tour wins, Bhullar had claimed two impressive start-to-finish victories – 2012 Macao Open and 2013 Indonesia Open.
- The 29-year-old Bhullar bounced back from a wrist injury, which he incurred in 2014, by winning the 2016 Shinhan Donghae Open. He went on to clinch his second title of the season two months later at the Indonesia Open.
- 2016 was the second year that Bhullar won twice in a single season in his career. He last achieved that feat in 2012, the same year when he won the Macao Open.
- Sandhu won his maiden Asian Tour title at the Yeangder Tournament Players Championship in Chinese Taipei, just a day before turning 29. He followed up that victory with another play-off win at the Taiheiyo Club Challenge Tournament on the Japan Challenge Tour last week.
- Sandhu is playing in his third attempt and the first since 2014 at the Macao Open. He has never missed the halfway cut at the storied event.
- The 25-year-old Hung is chasing for a maiden win on the region’s premier Tour. He has enjoyed two top-10 results so far this season.
- Hung’s best result at the Macao Open was a tied-13th place finish in 2013.
- Murillo claimed his breakthrough win on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) in Bali last week.