Petaling Jaya (Malaysia): India`s Gaganjeet Bhullar and Anirban Lahiri made a smart move upwards into second position at the midway stage of the Omega Mission Hills World Cup Asian Qualifying on Thursday.
Lying fifth after the first day, Bhullar and Lahiri, playing the World Cup qualifying for the first time, shot a solid 69 on a difficult day for scoring when just four teams shot under par. It moved the Indians to 136 and three behind the leaders, Mardan Mamat and Lam Chih Bing of Singapore, who added a 70 to their first round 63 at the Seri Selangor Golf Club.
Lahiri, winner of Panasonic Masters this year, and Bhullar, a two-time winner on the Asian Tour, had a round of six birdies against one double bogey and two bogeys.
"You always walk away from a round thinking you could do better and today was one of those rounds. Both of us deserved to play a better round. We made a lot of ground and we knew this was going to be a tougher format," said Lahiri.
Bhullar said, "We made a couple of mistakes yesterday but after playing 36 holes, we are quite comfortable with each other and our yardages.”
"We can go really low in the fourball format. Anirban played and putted very well. There’s no point going aggressive on every single hole. We can still make birdies with lay ups and short irons."
"We played very consistent. We both decided yesterday that we need to clamp down on the leaders and keep the ball in play. We had to stay focus, hit many greens and after that it was a matter of the putting. When you give yourself enough chances, you are definitely going to convert and that was our game plan today. We did that really. Apart from a few holes, I think we played fabulous golf," added Lahiri.
Kim Hyung-sung and Park Sung-joon of Korea are three shots back in third. Unheralded Anura Rohana and Mithun Perera of Sri Lanka posted a second consecutive 70 to lie in tied fourth with New Zealand’s Michael Hendry and Gareth Paddison on a 140 total.
The top three teams of the Asian Qualifying will earn tickets to the Omega Mission Hills World Cup in China in November.
The home team of Iain Steel and Shaaban Hussin returned with a 77 in tough scoring conditions and will have an uphill task of narrowing the eight-shot gap on Singapore.
Lam and Mardan, aiming to qualify for the biennial Omega Mission Hills World Cup for the fifth time, bogeyed holes one, two and four before recovering with two straight birdies from the fifth hole.
A total of 16 teams are vying for the three tickets to the Omega Mission Hills World Cup in China from November 24 to 27.