Gaganjeet Bhullar on course to create history

Last Updated: Jan 15, 2011, 21:39 PM IST

Ahmedabad: Home hero Gaganjeet Bhullar took a stranglehold of the inaugural Gujarat Kensville Challenge after creating a four-shot lead on the third day of the Euro 200,000 event, which marks the start of the 2011 Challenge Tour season.

Bhullar, bidding to become the first Indian to triumph on the Challenge Tour, shot a four-under par as he fired four birdies on his front nine before slowing down on the back nine in a superb display at the Jeev Milkha Singh-designed Kensville Golf Club.

His round of 68, which featured just one blemish on the eighth hole, moved Bhullar to a total of eight-under par, four shots clear of his nearest challenger Matthew Baldwin of England.

Overnight joint leader Florian Praegant shot a one over 73 to slip to the third position while Bangladesh`s Siddikur Rahman and England`s Matt Ford were tied for the fourth place at two-under.

Among the other Indians, Manav Jaini was the next best at tied-14th position with a total of 2-over 218.

Raju Ali Mollah, Ashok Kumar and Vinod Kumar were tied for the 16th position at three-over 219.

After capping a brilliant day, Bhullar said, "I wasn`t playing safe after the turn. I was just trying to keep the ball on the fairway and try to hit the middle of the green, irrespective of the pin position."

"In the final round, I`m just going to keep the same policy of trying to hit every fairway and green, and hopefully convert a few birdies if I can. It would be great to begin the season with a victory," he added.

In contrast to his playing partner, Praegant endured a difficult day, reaching the turn in 40 after carding three bogeys and a double bogey at the fourth hole for the second day in succession.

But to his credit the Austrian staged a miraculous late rally to sign for a round of 73 which moved him to third place on three under par.

Baldwin is one place higher and one shot closer to the leader after notching four birdies in his round of 70.

The Englishman birdied the third, sixth, ninth and 15th holes, but gave shots back at the fifth and 13th.

Baldwin`s compatriot Matt Ford is tied fourth with a two under par alongside Bangladesh`s Siddikur Rahman.

England`s Gary Lockerbie and Denmark`s Mads Vibe-Hastrup share sixth place after both men compiled rounds of 69.