Johannesburg: A mid-round burst of three successive birdies saw Gaganjeet Bhullar bring in a fine four-under 67 and make the cut comfortably at the Joburg Open. Playing on the West Course, which is considered tougher, Bhullar had six birdies against two bogeys as he moved to five-under 138 and in tied 46th place, and well inside the cut here at the Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club.
Bhullar, who shot 71 on the East Course, found his rhythm on the West Course as he birdied second, sixth and then three times in a row from ninth to 11th. He added one more on 17th but also had two bogeys on fourth and 14th. Bhullar has been driving and hitting his irons well as seen by the 11 fairways he has found of 14 on each of the first two days. He found 13 greens in regulation on first day and 15 on the second. Yet he needed 30 putts on both days, indicating that his putter has not been his best friend.
Italian Edoardo Molinari continued his return to form by claiming a share of the halfway lead. The 32-year-old has been plagued by injury problems since making his Ryder Cup debut alongside brother Francesco in 2010, slipping from the Official World Golf Ranking's top 20 to World Number 220 as a result.
However, having finished inside the top 10 in Dubai last week, the former US Amateur Champion was again impressive in South Africa as a second round 68 left him tied at the top of the leaderboard with Scotland's Craig Lee on 11 under par.
Lee made 67 on the West Course, having impressed with a 65 on the East set-up on day one, as he chases a maiden European Tour title. England's David Horsey and home favourite George Coetzee share third on ten under, and the former was delighted with his work on the greens after an eight under par 63 on the West Course.
Coetzee has had 24 top-10 finishes on The European Tour, but is hoping to land his first win on home soil this weekend. Horsey, like the majority of the field, is chasing not only the 206,050 euros first prize but also one of three Open Championship places on offer.
There is an added incentive at the Joburg Open, which is part of The Open Qualifying Series - South Africa. Three players, who have not already qualified and who finish in the top 10 at the Joburg Open, will secure places in The Open Championship at Royal Liverpool from July 17-20. In the event of a tie, the qualifying place(s) will go to the player with the highest ranking in the Official World Golf Ranking at the start of that week.