Macau, October 12: India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar continued to
roll the right numbers to stay two-shots clear of Thai duo Prom Meesawat and
Thitiphun Chuayprakong at the US$750,000 Venetian Macau Open on Friday.
The 24-year-old Indian, chasing his second Asian Tour title
within the space of a month, battled to a three-under-par 68 at the Macau Golf
and Country Club to lead the popular Asian Tour event on 11-under-par 131.
Thitiphun, 20, fired an impressive 66 to jump into tied
second place with countryman Prom, who produced two chip-in birdies in his round
Filipino star Angelo Que (66), Thai ace Thongchai Jaidee
(68), Bangladeshi Siddikur (68), Brazilian Adilson Da Silva (66) and
Australia’s Kieran Pratt (68) are a further shot back on 134 in the event which
is title sponsored for the first time by The Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel.
After an opening round of 63, overnight leader Bhullar was
somewhat more subdued with four birdies against an opening bogey today. He took
29 putts over the tricky Macau layout but extended his recent good form which has
yielded two top-10s and a win at the Yeangder Tournament Players Championship
“Not as good as yesterday but considering the conditions
right now, it’s not a bad score,” said Bhullar. “I could have done much better
but there is a lot of golf left. Hit the ball good but had some bad luck … had
two or three lip outs.”
Bhullar, ranked sixth on the Order of Merit, was delighted
to maintain his dominance in Macau as he chases a fourth Asian Tour title. “It
always feels good to play in the leader group week after week. It proves the
standard of golf is improving. I’m looking forward to playing in the weekend.
I’m just going to stick to my routine and process and see what happens,” he
Thitiphun, one of many emerging young Thais, scrambled well
to keep the bogeys off his card. “I missed a few shots but I got up and down on
three occasions. Bogey free around here, I’m happy,” said the bubbly Thai, who
turned professional when he was 16.
The youngster reckons he will be nervous over the weekend but
is hopeful he can sustain his title push. “Last year was my first time on Tour
and I think I have learned from my experience. Mentally, I’m better now. I’ll
be a bit nervous tomorrow, seeing names like Thongchai Jaidee and Gaganjeet
Bhullar. But I feel I have a chance.”
The burly Prom stayed in touch with Bhullar, thanks to some
hot iron play which produced two chip-in birdies on 11 and 18. “I struggled,
especially with my putting in the first five holes. But I got it back, had a
good finish on the back nine with a two under. My driving wasn’t good and I
didn’t have the confidence. I’ll need to fix it at the range,” said Prom, who
is seventh on the Merit list.
Que, a three-time Asian Tour winner, showed he did not
require a practice round to chart his way up the leaderboard with an eagle and
six birdies on the card.“I’ve played this course since 2003 and it’s
pretty much the same course every year. If you’re confident with your game, you
can manage your game around here,” said Que, who came home in 30.
“I was hitting good shots but I didn’t get lucky and wasn’t
holing any putts early on. It was a straight forward eagle (on two) from 15
feet but it jump-started my back nine and I had four more birdies after that.”
Chinese legend Zhang Lian-wei, a two-time Macau Open
champion, maintained his proud record of making every cut since 1998 with a 72
leaving him on 141, the same score as title holder Chan Yih-shin of Chinese
Taipei, who fired a 68.
Veteran Welshman Ian Woosnam, a former Masters Tournament
winner, carded a 72 to lie on 140. The halfway cut was set at 143 with 76
players progressing into the final two rounds.
Scores after round 2 of the Venetian Macau Open 2012
being played at the par 71, 6,606 Yards Macau GCC course (a- denotes amateur):
131 - Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) 63-68.
133 - Thitiphun CHUAYPRAKONG (THA) 67-66, Prom MEESAWAT
134 - Angelo QUE (PHI) 68-66, Kieran PRATT (AUS) 66-68,
Thongchai JAIDEE (THA) 66-68, SIDDIKUR (BAN) 66-68, Adilson DA SILVA
135 - Scott HEND (AUS) 65-70, Jason KNUTZON (USA) 67-68,
Jonathan MOORE (USA) 67-68.
136 - Berry HENSON (USA) 67-69, LEE Sung (KOR) 67-69, Adam
BLYTH (AUS) 68-68.
140: Ian Woosnam (Wal) 68-72
141: Zhang Lian-wei (PRC) 69-72, Chan Yih-shin (Tpe) 73-68
– End –
About The Venetian® Macao-Resort-Hotel
Founded in 2007, The Venetian® Macao-Resort-Hotel is Macao's
first integrated resort featuring stunning replicas of the famous canals and
architectural icons of Venice, Italy. The Venetian Macao features 3,000 suites,
1.2 million square feet (111,000 square metres) of convention and meeting
facilities as well as a 15,000-seat CotaiArena designed for world-class sports
events and electrifying entertainment. The Venetian Macao is also home to the
unique, 1,800-seat luxury Venetian Theatre, hosting the best in international
and Chinese entertainment; more than 30 renowned restaurants; MALO Clinic
Health & Wellness; the incredibly fun Qube indoor playground and more than
300 retailers at Shoppes Grand Canal. Outdoor recreation areas include swimming
pools and cabanas and a mini-golf course.
About the Asian Tour
As the official sanctioning body
for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf
across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment
to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the
International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian
professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian
Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with
Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Abacus (Official Apparel
Partner), BlackBerry (Official Communications Partner), Cityneon (Official
Event Overlay Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Singha
Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball), Starwood Hotels and Resorts
(Official Hotels and Resorts) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). The Asian Tour
has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.