Bhullar earns top spot, has Praegant for company | other | Hindustan Times
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Bhullar earns top spot, has Praegant for company

Having had a mental trainer work on him with some of "powerful tools", Gaganjeet Bhullar keeps reminding himself that results have little bearing on the sub-conscious mind. "The game should be in place and, more importantly, it's all about how you feel on the course," he says.

other Updated: Jan 16, 2011 00:03 IST
Robin Bose

Having had a mental trainer work on him with some of "powerful tools", Gaganjeet Bhullar keeps reminding himself that results have little bearing on the sub-conscious mind. "The game should be in place and, more importantly, it's all about how you feel on the course," he says.

After a blistering start to the 2010 season with the win at the Asian Tour International in Thailand, desirable results came in fits and starts and a mention leaves Bhullar excitable. "All this talk of the form hitting a plateau means little. In fact, I played better golf in the later half of the year. At the Brunei Open I made the cut with a birdie (he finished fourth) and again at Gleneagles (Johnnie Walker Championship, he finished T56). The results were contrasting but I knew I was okay."

Going with the mindset, Bhullar, tied for the overnight lead with Austria's Florian Praegant, was alive to the demands of Saturday. A strong start was the need and the 22-year-old came up with just that to break away with a four-stroke lead over England's Matthew Baldwin on the penultimate day of the Gujarat Kensville Challenge.

Playing true to the slogan of "landing the ball on the fairway and then finding the middle of the green", Bhullar acquired the momentum he required at the testing Kensville Golf & Country Club by picking up early shots on the 2nd and 3rd. "A good start was crucial for today's outcome," he said, referring to the cut that was applied on Friday at seven-over and saw 63 players make the grade. The front nine turned out to be a roller-coaster ride for the Kapurthala golfer. After a birdie on the 6th - it could well have been an eagle but for the lip out, frustration awaited him on the 8th when the second shot stayed short on the right and resulted in a bogey on the par-four.

Unputdownable, Bhullar made the turn with a birdie and promised a lot more on the back nine, but surprisingly fell silent save the high on the 16th, which came off a curling downhill putt from 40-feet. "The slowing down wasn't deliberate, I had to be careful, especially on the 5th and again on the 17th, where I was lucky to escape with par."

The hard and sloped greens have posed a severe test this week and Bhullar was more than thankful to come away with the 68 to be eight-under 208. "It's amazing how Siddikur (he lies six off the lead at T4) managed the 67 on the opening day, it's like a dream," he said. The four-stroke cushion looks tempting, but not for the leader.

"The lead is not to be enjoyed. It'll have to be a repeat of today's round."