Oct 26, 2017: In-form Gaganjeet Bhullar of India launched his title defence by going five-under-par through 17 holes, highlighted by a hole-in-one on 12, before darkness stopped play in the opening round of the Indonesia Open on Thursday.
He matched the day’s efforts of playing partner Stephen Leaney of Australia, American Jason Knutzon and local hope Danny Masrin, who are both at five-under through 16, at the Pondok Indah Golf Course.
A host of eight players, including Ye Htet Aung of Myanmar, Singapore’s Quincy Quek, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit of Thailand and Rory Hie of Indonesia, shared the clubhouse lead after signing for matching four-under-par 68s at the US$300,000 Asian Tour event.
Coming off the back of a win, Bhullar fired three birdies in his opening six holes before stumbling with a double-bogey on the seventh hole to turn in 35, just before play was suspended.
The 29-year-old Indian, however, caught fire after returning to the course, capping a birdie-birdie-hole in one-birdie run from the 10th hole before dropping a shot on 16.
“I have had five hole-in-ones so far, this is my second during a tournament. It was on hole 12, 172 meters out and I hit an eight iron. It was a lucky shot that landed just five feet away from the pin and then rolled in.
I made the turn at one-under-par, and then birdied the 10th and 11th that gave me a boost. I then made the hole-in-one on 12th, continued to make a birdie on hole 13 with a long 30-foot-putt, so that was a good stretch of holes for me.
I did not do anything during the suspension, just had my lunch and was ready to go”, said Bhullar.
Play was suspended at 2.25pm local time due to lightning threats before resuming an hour and 20 minutes later. It was later abandoned for the day at 5.42pm due to fading light.
A total of 28 players will resume their rounds at 6.10am on Friday, with the second round to commence at 6.15am as per scheduled.
Did you know?
- Bhullar aced the par-three 12th hole after hitting an eight-iron from 172 yards.
- Bhullar’s ace on the 12th hole was the fifth hole-in-one in his professional career and second in a tournament.
- Bhullar is a two-time winner of the Indonesia Open in 2013 and 2016. He is chasing for a hat-trick at the storied event.
- Bhullar claimed his eighth Asian Tour title in Macao last week and became the youngest player to win eight times on the region’s premier Tour. He ties the record with Jyoti Randhawa and Arjun Atwal as the only three Indians with the most number of victories on the Asian Tour.
- Out of Bhullar’s eight victories, three were secured in Indonesia.
- Masrin turned professional in 2015 and he has been plying his trade mostly on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) over the last two years.
- The 25-year-old Masrin enjoyed a tied-14th place finish at the Indonesia Open last year.
- Tirawat, who just turned 28 two days ago, enjoyed a top-10 finish in Korea last month. He also claimed a breakthrough win on the ADT in June.
- Tirawat came in tied-eighth at the 2016 Indonesia Open.