Flawless Bhullar shoots stunning 63, moves to eighth place
Dongguan: Gaganjeet Bhullar logged the day`s third best round with a flawless nine-under 63 to zoom up to tied eight place from tied 27th in the USD 7 million WGC-HSBC Champions here on Saturday.
The Indian golfer was the best placed Asian in the world-class field. And with one more round to go, Bhullar at 12-under is six shots behind co-leaders Lee Westwood (61) and Louis Oosthuizen (70), who are at 18-under 198.
Bhullar, 24, who has won twice on the Asian Tour in the past two months, fired nine birdies in a flawless round.
The only players to shoot better than Bhullar`s 63, were American Brand Snedeker, who shot a spectacular 60 after narrowly missing out on a magical 59 with a missed birdie chance on 18 and England`s Lee Westwood (61) who went on to grab a share of the third round lead with halfway leader Louis Oosthuizen, who shot a 70.
Bhullar`s senior, Jeev Milkha Singh carded a 73 for tied 46th position on 216.
Four-time Major champion, Phil Mickelson shot a 66 to trail by three strokes in third place as he kept up his bid for an unprecedented third HSBC Champions title.
Bhullar has maintained his impressive form through the season. A week after finishing top-10 at the co-sanctioned Asian Tour and PGA Tour event in Malaysia, he has put himself in position for another terrific showing.
"It was a smooth 63. Trust me, it was a great round. I had 16 greens in regulation, nine birdies, nine pars. We kind of expect this kind of round when you play good. It`s been a long time I`ve shot low 60. I came here with a lot of positivity in my game. Hit the ball really well and I made nine birdies and nine pars, probably the best I`ve ever done in my life," said Bhullar.
"You know, I have shot 62 once in an Asian Tour tournament but to shoot a low number in such a big tournament, it means a lot. It will definitely help me in my future tournaments," he added.
Bhullar struck it hot with his putter today, needing only 21 putts. He also lamented missing four birdie chances from inside 10 feet.
"I just told myself to stick to the routine and the process and just kept on doing that all day long, and when I walked out of the 18th green and realised I shot nine under, so that was the trick. Hopefully I`m going to do that again and again," said Bhullar, who is currently fifth on the Asian Tour`s Order of Merit.
"I hit 16 greens in regulation and most of them like really close within 10, 15 feet. And I had a great start, I missed greens in regulation on the first, just left of the green and chipped in for birdie," he added.
The best result by an Asian Tour member in the WGC was Thongchai Jaidee`s tied fifth finishes at the Accenture Match Play two years ago and American Express Championship in 2006.
"You know, golf is a crazy game. You never know what`s going to happen next. Yeah, I saw a lot of low numbers. Brandt Snedeker shot 60...I thought mine was the best," he said.
"There is a lot of low scoring this week. A lot of golf left, and it`s a WGC. Guys are good and I`m expecting a lot of good golf for Sunday afternoon."
Westwood, whose string of successes in Asia is near legendary -- 11 titles -- sank 11 birdies to reach 18-under-par 196.
Oosthuizen started the day five shots ahead of the pack but his lead quickly dwindled as he signed for a 70.
Snedeker, who won the FedEx Cup after winning the season-ending Tour Championship on the PGA Tour, flirted with the magical 59 but his birdie putt from 18 feet on the last hole slid past the cup. He settled for a remarkable 60, which is the lowest round ever in a World Golf Championships event, and moved up from equal 38th place to tied seventh.