The Battle Royale between Gaganjeet Bhullar and his senior colleague Jeev Milkha Singh will spill over onto Monday, as weather played spoilsport at the BANK BRI-JCB Indonesia Open golf tournament on Sunday.
Bhullar, who began the day one shot behind Jeev, holds a two-shot advantage when he continues his battle with his senior countrymate on Monday.
Bhullar, a six-time Asian Tour winner, was 16-under through 15 holes but Jeev continued to pile the pressure on his countryman before a thunderstorm in the afternoon forced officials to suspend the game.
Jyoti Randhawa (68) finished tied 14th, while first round co-leader Khalin Joshi, who struggled over the weekend, with 74-73 was tied 24th. Shubhankar Sharma (73) and S Chikkrangappa (68) were tied 27th, while Chiragh Kumar (71) was tied 36th. Himmat Rai at tied 52nd still had one hole to play and Abhinav Lohan in tied 63rd had two to go.
Trailing overnight leader Jeev by a single shot, Bhullar went on a birdie spree collecting five birdies in seven holes. He slipped back with a bogey on hole 13 but will hold an edge heading into the last three holes. “When we play in this part of the world, situations like this are expected. I’m going to treat Monday like Sunday. Mentally I have to tell my mind that I’m getting ready for a Sunday instead of a Monday finish!”
“It is always good to be under the gun. That’s when your real play comes out. I’m looking forward to the remainder of the round,” said the 28-year-old Bhullar, who won his sixth Asian Tour title in Korea last month.
Jeev, a two-time Asian Tour number one, hit a poor tee shot on the 16th hole before the sirens blared and will need to regroup as he searches for a first victory since 2012. A pair of birdies on holes 13 and 14 will give the Indian some hope on Monday.
“My poor drive will give Gaganjeet the edge now because he can relax and think about things. I was putting the heat on him but now he can put things in perspective,” said Jeev. “It is tough to replicate that Sunday feeling because Monday is usually your day off. I started pushing on the back nine. I think it was going in the right way until the rain came and everything was put on hold. At least I have a chance to win so it will be exciting,” said the 44-year-old.
Thailand’s Danthai Boonma and Panuphol Pittayarat are tied on 13-under with one more hole to play while Dodge Kemmer of the United States fired a 65 to end his campaign on 276 at the Pantai Indah Golf Course.
An official announcement was made to stop play for the day at 4.30pm with a total of 19 players returning on Monday at 6.15am to finish the final round at the $300,000 Asian Tour event.