Jakarta, November 20 - Gaganjeet Bhullar of India will hold a two-shot advantage when he continues his battle with Jeev Milkha Singh on Monday at the weather-hit BANK BRI-JCB Indonesia Open.
Bhullar, a six-time Asian Tour winner, was 16-under through 15 holes but Singh continued to pile the pressure on his countryman before a thunderstorm at 1.05pm forced officials to suspend the game. 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.
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 a 276 total at the Pondok Indah Golf Course.
Trailing overnight leader Singh by a single shot, Bhullar took control of the tournament by hitting 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 you 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.
“This doesn’t change my game plan. As I said, I’ll just try and repeat the same thing over and over. Looking at the situation, I was totally warmed up and in a good momentum. I’m feeling good so I expect to score in the last three holes,” he added.
Singh, 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 Singh, who has won 14 titles around the world.
“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.
Although the tournament still leaves 19 golfers who have to complete the remaining holes on Monday, the title of Low Amateur at the BANK BRI-JCB Indonesia Open is certain to go to Indonesian golfer Almay Rayhan Yaquta. The 18-year-old golfer is the only amateur players who qualified for the cut.
After playing less well in the third round with a score of 75 (3-over-par) he saw his aggregate score reduced to 4-under par, from an impressive 7-under-par after the first two days. Almay finished the fourth round with an additional 1-under-par score for a total of five-under-par (283).
"On Saturday I was nervous. I lost my feeling at some holes. Finally, I got to finish with a three-over-par. Yes thank God. Today also I play hard. In the first nine holes I was at two-over par. A little disappointed. Then, on the second nine holes, I birdied on hole 12. I had the spirit again, but bogeyed again on hole 13. Then I started thinking about resigning to it. Well I make even par after birdies at holes 17, and added another birdie on hole 18," he said.
With a score of 5-under-par (283), Almay finished in T27 position. This score is the best achievement by an Indonesian amateur golfer in the Indonesia Open since 2005. Almay is proud to achieve this in only his second appearance to play at international level such as the Asian Tour. He gained a lot of experience playing here.
"I was fortunate for a chance like this. Not all players can play in this international event. I can learn also here. Can measure how our capabilities are in the Asian Tour. Our experience and game are still far away," he said.
Meanwhile, other representatives for Indonesia, George Gandranata and Jordan S. Irawan, also completed their final round with less than satisfactory results. George made a score of 1-over-par (73), eventually making a total score of even par (288), while Jordan's game worsened in recent days with a score of 78 (6-over-par), which made his position increasingly slip backwards for a score a total of 4-over-par (292).
"I admit I am physically exhausted after playing 28 holes on Saturday, because I had to complete 11 holes that were pending from the second round on Friday. I'm tired. It's a lesson that I have to improve physically in order to not to have this happen again," said Jordan.
Two other Indonesian golfers, Adrian Halimi and Danny Masrin, still need to continue the rest of the fourth round tomorrow. Adrian only needs to play one more hole with a score today of 1-under par, while Danny who currently is at T14 has still possibilities to raise on the leaderboard. He has three holes left with a score of 9-under par.
Asian Tour Tournament Director Jittisak Tamprasert said: “The decision to extend the tournament to Monday was decided after discussing with sponsors and officials. It was a decision made in the best interest of the tournament as we experienced numerous weather suspensions during the week.”
Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) -16 through 15 holes
Jeev Milkha SINGH (IND) -14 through 15 holes
Danthai BOONMA (THA) -13 through 17 holes
Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA) -13 through 17 holes
Scores after round 4 of the Bank BRI-JCB Indonesia Open 2016 being played at the par 72, 7243 Yards Pondok Indah GC course (am – denotes amateur):
276 – Dodge KEMMER (USA) 71-69-71-65
277 – Tirawat KAEWSIRIBANDIT (THA) 69-68-74-66, Pavit TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA) 70-69-70-68
278 – Janne KASKE (FIN) 68-67-75-68
Selected Indonesian players:
-9 - Danny MASRIN 68-72-67-E
283 - Almay Rayhan YAQUTAH 68-69-75-71
288 - George GANDRANATA 70-72-73-73
292 - Jordan IRAWAN 70-71-73-78
+5 - Adrian HALIMI 71-71-80-+5