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Gaganjeet forges ahead

CHANDIGARH, FEB. 17. Sixteen-year-old Kapurthala lad Gaganjeet Bhullar surged into a commanding lead with a two-under-par 70 round on the penultimate day of the Royal Challenge Samarvir Sahi amateur golf tournament at the par-72 Chandigarh Golf Club course here today.

Gaganjeet's three-day tally stood at a level par 216, four strokes clear of overnight joint leader Jasjeet Singh who shot a two-over 74 today and was placed second on the leaderboard. Lying one stroke behind was Jasjeet's brother Simarjeet who returned a card of one-under 71.

Gaganjeet started on a steady note with pars on the first five holes. The par-4 sixth saw him make a bogey as his second shot landed on the right edge of the green from where a recovery cost him a stroke.

However, he recovered on the very next hole when he sank a 10-feet putt to record his first birdie of the day. The eighth hole where he three-putted from 15 feet saw him make his only other bogey of the day.

Gagandeep made a fine return journey with birdies coming on the 11th, 13th and 17th holes. On the 371-yard par-4 17th hole, Gaganjeet's drive landed just short of the green from where a chip-putt combination handed him the birdie.

``I am happy to be on top of the leaderboard but I feel I could have returned a much better card today," I missed plenty of birdie opportunities. The fairways were clear after sunshine. However, the greens were hard as the ball was not holding,''remarked the leader.

The scores (after 54 holes): 216 Gaganjeet Bhullar (73, 73, 70); 220 Jasjeet Singh (75, 71, 74); 221 Simarjeet Singh (72, 78, 71); 224 Manav Das (82, 70, 72); 225 Vikrant Chopra (78, 74, 73); 225 Amardip Sinh Malik (76, 72, 77); 226 Jaskirat Dullet (76, 78, 72); 228 Vikram Rana (75, 77, 76), Gagan Verma (76, 75, 77); 229 Rahul Bakshi (79, 78, 72). — UNI

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