Errant tee shots and a cold putter forced Portrush man Graeme McDowell to birdie three of his closing five holes on day one to keep his head just above water at level-par, but a vastly improved tee game helped him to a second-round, three-under 68 and he climbs to a tie for 40th going into the weekend at the BNI Indonesian Masters presented by TNE.
McDowell hit 11 of 14 fairways, trading five birdies with two bogeys to climb more than 40 places on the leaderboard in his first Indonesian appearance of his storied career.
India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar is clearly the man to catch after leading for the second day in a row following a four-under-par 67.
Bhullar put himself on course to win for the fifth time in Indonesia after moving to 12-under here at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, in the final International Series event of the year.
He leads by three from Canadian Richard T. Lee, who also shot a 67, and by four from American Patrick Reed, in with a 68.
Bhullar hit the front after a 63 yesterday and was unchallenged at the top today, starting convincingly with four birdies in his first eight.
Of his success in Indonesia, he commented: “I personally feel that it could be the weather, it could be some sort of thing to do with the greens, with the grass, with the size of fairways or probably the size of rough.”
He dropped his first shot of the week on nine and another on 17 but they were the only mistakes for a player who has triumphed 10 times on the Asian Tour, the most by an Indian golfer.
“I drove the ball really well yesterday and today,” said the golfer from Amritsar, who chipped in twice today.
“I think one factor which really led me to where I am, 12 under after two rounds, is my driving ability. In the last two rounds I think I only missed two fairways, and the more and more fairways you hit you give yourself more opportunities to be closer to the flag, and that’s what I did yesterday and today.
“The goal was to stay in the moment. The goal was to basically just stay in the zone, stay focused and keep on grinding. Keep on doing what I’m trying to do.”
Bhullar’s most recent win on the Asian Tour came at the Mandiri Indonesia Open in August last year – which marked the third time he had won the event. He first tasted victory on Indonesian soil at the Indonesia President Invitational 14 years ago and based on his form so far this week, another success here looks within range.