Natadola Bay (Fiji)
Indian golfer Gaganjeet Bhullar recovered from a shaky start to card three-under 69 for a share of the fifth spot at the midway stage of the Fiji International tournament here.
Bhullar stands five-under overall. He is six shots behind the runaway leader Kiwi Ben Campbell, who shot 67 after his first round 66 to get to 11-under.
Of the four Indians in the field, Ajeetesh Sandhu (73-73) was the only other one to make the cut, while Shiv Kapur (80-72) and Chiragh Kumar (77-80) missed out.
Bhullar, on his maiden visit to Fiji, is enjoying some unexpected fan following. ‘Bula’ in Fiji means ‘Hello’ and it rhymes well with his surname.
The eight-time Asian Tour winner, smiled and said, “Every time I’m here (at the golf course), every third person is calling out my surname, ‘Bula, Bula.’ It’s very good. I’m enjoying myself. My wife is here and we are enjoying ourselves, having a great time. It’s a great place.”
Campbell, whose sole professional win came earlier this year at the NZ PGA on Australasian Tour, shot 33-33 on either side of the turn and he may well have been a shot better but for his sole bogey on the 18th.
Right behind him is Australian Andrew Dodt (67-70) in sole second at seven-under 137, while two other Australians Terry Pilkadaris (70-68) and Jarryd Felton (67-71) are Tied-3rd at six-under 138. Bhullar and six others are Tied-5th at five-under 139.
“I had a shaky start to the round, I started with a bogey and then I had another bogey on No. 3. Three-under 69 is not a great round, but I think with 36 holes to go I’m in a good position,” he said.
On the fine season he is having, Bhullar smiled and added, “I’m doing exactly the same stuff I’ve been doing all these years. For some reason the ball is going in the hole more often.
“Yeah, the last one and a half to two months have been really good. I have two runner-up finishes and let’s see what’s next.”
Three-time Major winner and the Natadola Golf Course designer, Vijay Singh (76-72), made the cut despite bogeying his last hole, the ninth.
Ernie Els (72-70) was T-20, while defending champion Jason Norris (72-76) made it on the line. (PTI)