Bhullar takes sold at Indonesian Masters with 8-under-63

Ace Indian golfer Gaganjeet Bhullar on Thursday shot a stunning bogey-free eight-under-63 in the first round to grab sole lead at the BNI Indonesian Masters here at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club.

Bhullar, who has won four of his 10 Asian Tour titles in Indonesia, put himself ahead of countryman Honey Baisoya, Phachara Khongwatmai from Thailand and American Paul Peterson, all made a round of 65s.

Bhullar’s previous wins in Indonesia came in the President Invitational (2009) and the Indonesia Open in 2013, 2016 and 2022. Starting with a birdie on the 10th, Bhullar added two more on the 17th and the 18th holes to turn in 3-under. He added five more on his second nine, the front side of the course on the third, fourth, sixth, eighth and ninth for a sizzling 63.

The 35-year-old said: “The whole year I have been feeling strong mentally and physically. Though I have been playing well but not really delivering. I am sure my subconscious mind will figure it out.” Bhullar said an adjustment to his putting helped him trigger the windfall of birdies. “I figured out something with my stroke on the first few holes and kept on repeating the same action. In the end, the result was eight under par. It was more to do with the way I was looking at the lines. “I changed the way I was visualising the putt. Nothing changed in my stroke, just the ability to change reading the lines from a different point of view,” he explained. Baisoya, who is currently 77th on the Merit List, and looking to get into Top-65 to ensure playing rights for 2024, brought home a round of 65 with seven birdies and one bogey.

Peterson had six birdies and no bogeys, while Phachara had four birdies and an eagle.

Five Indians, Karandeep Kochhar, SSP Chawrasia, Veer Ahlawat, Rashid Khan and Yashas Chandra carded 2-under 69 each to be tied 30th on a low-scoring opening day.

Ajeetesh Sandhu (70) was tied 51 while S Chikkarangappa (71) was tied 69. But things did not go well for Anirban Lahiri, who after 2-over 73 was tied 94 and Shiv Kapur, still struggling with an injury, shot 6-over 77.

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