Macao, 21 Oct 2017

Gaganjeet Bhullar continues to lead after round three of Macao Open

Ajeetesh Sandhu hot on his heels in tied second

India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar saw his overnight four-shot lead reduced to one after battling to a third round three-over-74 at the Macao Open on Saturday.

Bhullar (64-65-74), 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 at a 10-under-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.

Ajeetesh Sandhu (66-67-71) of India, who carded an even-par-71, kept up his chase for a third career victory in three weeks at the US$500,000 Asian Tour event as he was placed tied second at nine-under-204 along with Chinese Taipei’s Hung Chien-yao.

Gaganjeet, the leader since the first round this week, 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.

Bhullar said, “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.”

Ajeetesh, looking to win a third title in three weeks, made three birdies and three bogeys in his third round of level-par.

Ajeetesh said, “It was a pretty tough round today. The wind was already swirling when we tee off. It was gusting a lot. The course is playing a lot harder and faster today too. I hit a lot of good shots, to be honest. I hit a lot of good shots against the wind.

“It was a pretty solid round. I just made a couple of mistakes which I shouldn’t have. I had some unlucky breaks too but that’s golf. Overall, I am happy with my round. It’s going to be the same again for tomorrow.

“I am one back but that doesn’t mean much as there are still 18 holes to play. I will just play my own game and play it to my best tomorrow. Three wins in a row, it’s definitely at the back of my mind. It’s been brought up a lot this week.

“It will be amazing if I can do it but I won’t be thinking about that for now. I will just play my best tomorrow and see where it lands me.”

Among the other Indians, Chikkarangappa was tied 19th at even-par-213, Chiragh Kumar, Rashid Khan and Shubhankar Sharma were all in tied 24th at one-over-214, Himmat Rai was tied 57th at six-over-219, Khalin Joshi was tied 61st at seven-over-220 and M Dharma was tied 69th at nine-over-222.

Source: Asian Tour

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