Friday October 26, 2012
Gaganjeet is Asiaís best in the opening round
India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar fired a six-under 65 to be tied in fifth place with American Tom Gillis and earn the honour of being the best Asian Tour player in the first round of the CIMB Classic.
Bhullar, making his debut in the CIMB Classic, was pleased with opening round effort after being paired off with Robert Garrigus, who ended the day in joint second with two others.
The in-form Bhullar sank an eagle and five birdies to trail leader Troy Matteson of the US by two strokes in the US$6.1mil tournament that is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and PGA Tour.
Bhullar arrived here in top form, winning twice on the Asian Tour in the past two months.
“You know, this is my first visit to the CIMB (Classic) ... I’ve been wanting to play in this event. It’s my pleasure to be a part of the field with Tiger Woods,” he said.
“We just enjoyed our 18 holes. He (Garrigus) shot a good round today and I also played well. I’m looking forward to the next three days.”
Bhular made three birdies through eight holes before dropping his lone bogey of the day on the ninth.
On the inward stretch, he struck a purple patch from the 14th hole onwards – nailing two birdies before rolling in a 15-foot eagle putt on the 17th.
“Trust me, that was a killer putt. That’s probably the best putt of this season. I never expected it to break so much from the right. When I first hit it, I thought I might be missing from the right. But it just died out in the hole,” he said.
With fellow Asian Tour colleagues Danny Chia of Malaysia and South African Jbe Kruger also starting after shooting 66s, Bhullar is not ruling out an Asian winner at the CIMB Classic.
Americans Ben Crane and Bo Van Pelt won the first two editions.
Current Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand scrambled to a 72 in a round that included four birdies, three bogeys and one double bogey.