Taipei: Indian golfer Gaganjeet Bhullar made a birdie-birdie finish to take a slender one-shot lead into the third and final round of the weather-shorted Yeangder Tournament Players Championship on Sunday.
When the second round finally ended this afternoon, Bhullar had carded a second round 69 to add to his 66 in first round to take his total to nine-under 135.
The 24-year-old Indian was one ahead of 14-time Asian Tour winner Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand, who shot the round`s lowest score of 66 to get to eight-under 136 at the Linkou International Golf and Country Club.
Berry Henson (68) and Jason Knutzon (71) of the United States shared third place at seven-under 137.
Himmat Rai (70) moved up from 20th to 10th at three-under 141, but Anirban Lahiri (74) slipped from fifth to tied 18th at two-under 142.
Chiragh Kumar (70) moved up to tied 32nd from tied 82nd at even par 144, while Ajeetesh Sandhu (74) was tied 62nd at three-over. The cut was set at three-over-par with 76 players making the cut.
The third and final round of the Yeangder TPC will be played tomorrow after inclement weather yesterday forced play to be abandoned and left tournament officials with no choice but to reduce the USD 500,000 event into a 54-stroke play tournament.
Starting the day in equal second place, Bhullar got off to a commanding start with an opening birdie, followed by an eagle on the fourth hole. He dropped a shot on the seventh hole before reaching the turn with a two-shot lead over the chasing pack.
Bhullar appeared to be cruising home after marking his card with another birdie on the 10th hole.
However, a double-bogey six on the 14th hole led to some anxious moments for the two-time Asian Tour winner.
"I hit it to the right of the woods and laid it up short of the green. The lie was too fluffy and my club just went underneath. I was four-on and then I had like a five-footer to save five but I missed that," said Bhullar.
Two birdies on the 17th and 18th holes, however, managed to provide that much-needed relief for Bhullar.
"Trust me. The last two birdies were definitely much needed to ease the pressure. I played well today considering the last two days I was just sitting in my room and couldn`t do anything," said Bhullar.
Although Bhullar is standing on the verge of winning his third Asian Tour title with 18 holes to play, he remains wary of Thaworn who lurks closely.
"The final 18 is going to be interesting as it has been a long time since I last played with Thaworn," said Bhullar.
Rai added a 70 to his opening 71 to stay six shots back of Bhullar.
"I played fairly straight forward in the morning as there were less winds and the greens were softer so I think that really favoured the morning draw. It`s all about getting started again and the same process and routine so I guess it`s subconscious once you get started again," said Rai.
On the delays and play suspension, he added, "I`m really looking forward to the last 18 holes tomorrow. We`re starting early and the idea is to get finished early. I had lunch close to the hotel where we had some nice Italian food. I visited the markets and I really enjoyed myself during my day-off in Taipei yesterday."
Meanwhile Thaworn believes he can stage a comeback worthy of his proud standing as a 14-time Asian Tour winner. The Thai ace opened with a first round 70 but was quick to make up grounds with a performance that was highlighted by an eagle, five birdies and a bogey.