Bhullar one off the lead at Johor Bahru


Johor Bahru (Malaysia) : Gaganjeet Bhullar came with one shot off the leaders, but still had two holes more to play when play was stopped early Friday at the $500,000 Iskandar Johor Open golf championship. In the afternoon there was a two-hour suspension due to bad weather.

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Bhullar, who came close to winning in Indonesia last year before being beaten by an eagle on the 72nd hole, was five-under through 16 holes and had a total of seven-under and will return to play two holes Saturday morning.

Australian Mitchell Brown led the field with a total of eight-under 136 with a second round 69 and he shared the lead with former Ryder Cup player, Swede Niclas Fasth (68).

Bhullar starting on the tenth, birdied the 11th and 12th and then added two more on 17th and 18th to turn in four-under. He added another birdie on second to be five under as he parred the next five holes.

Gaurav Ghei improved from 56th to 26th with a card of 71 and he is one-under for 36 holes. Arjun Singh also moved up from 44th to 35th with a second round of 72, while Firoz Ali (75) dropped from 20th to 48th at one-over.

Baaz Mann (72) at two-over in 62nd place, Harmeet Kahlon (73) at three-over in 70th, Rahil Gangjee (78) at five-over in 88th and Himmat Rai (75) at seven-over in 100th were in danger of missing the cut. Anirban Lahiri, even through 12, was at three-over and 70th.

Two-time Asian number one Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand charged into contention with a superb 66 to lie one behind the leaders while title holder Artemio Murakami of the Philippines was three off the pace after a 72.

Former US Open champion Retief Goosen of South Africa carded a blemish-fee 69 for a 141 total and knows he must produce the fireworks at the weekend to challenge for the title.

A two-hour lightning delay in the afternoon meant that 42 players failed to complete their second rounds and will restart at Saturday.

Fasth, winner of six titles in Europe, remained bogey-free through 36 holes and sank four birdies on his front nine. He rued a cold putter as numerous birdie attempts rolled past the edges.

“I played very well on the front nine but a bit scruffy on the back nine. I had loads of birdie chances but yet again, I would have hoped for a few more to drop. I guess I’m not alone in that, I’m not too far off,” said Fasth.

Ranked as high as 18th in the world last year, Fasth has slipped back to 82nd after his form dipped due to work in remodelling his swing with English swing guru Dennis Pugh this year.

Overnight leader Craig Smith was four-over through 15 holes and dropped to three-under after being seven-under on first day.