Bhullar tied 4th, off to strong start in Malaysia

Himmat Rai was stranded at 5-under after 9 holes but Bhullar and Gangjee brought home matching three-under 69s in the opening round of the Iskandar Johor Open.

Updated: October 22, 2009 13:56 IST
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Johor Bahru (Malaysia) :Himmat Rai was stranded at five-under after nine holes but compatriots Gaganjeet Bhullar and Rahil Gangjee brought home matching three-under 69s before darkness truncated the opening round of the Iskandar Johor Open golf tournament here on Thursday.

Play was suspended for about three hours in the noon due to inclement weather and even though it eventually resumed, all players who teed off in the afternoon session are yet to complete their round.

Of the players who had completed the round, Thailand's Chinnarat Phadungsil, together with compatriot Pariya Junhasavasdikul and Mark Purser of New Zealand, made a spirited start to take the first-round clubhouse lead at four-under 68 in the USD one million event.

Apart from Rai, Chinese Taipei's Lin Wen-tang and Chang Tse-peng were also on five-under after 13 and 12 holes respectively.

Apart from Bhullar and Gangjee, Malaysia's Danny Chia and defending champion Retief Goosen of South Africa were among the 11 players bunched in tied fourth position on 69.

Among other Indians in the fray, SSP Chowrasia (70), Digvijay Singh (71) and Amandeep Johl (71) managed to complete their round while Anirban Lahiri was stranded at three-under (6 holes), Manav Jaini at two-under (6 holes), C Muniyappa (14 holes) and Gaurav Ghei (9 holes) at one-under.

Rai was off to a great birdie-eagle start and even though he dropped a stroke on the 12th hole, birdies on the 14th, 15th and 17th had him at five-under.

Bhullar was his confident self, barring the fifth hole double bogey and the 16th hole bogey, which he offset with six birdies.

Leading completed 1st round scores: 68 - Chinnarat Phadungsil, Mark Purser, Pariya Junhasavasdikul.

69 - Lin Wen-hong, Keith Horne, Retief Goosen, Danny Chia, Noh Seung-yul, Mars Pucay, Gaganjeet Bhullar, Marcus Both, Udorn Duangdecha, Rahil Gangjee, Tim Stewart.

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