Bhullar in four-way lead at the Austrian Open golf

Aztenburg (Austria), Sep 24: Indian golfer Gaganjeet Bhullar is in contention for his maiden European Tour title after he overcame a late slump to card four-under 68 and grab a share of the lead at the midway stage of the Austrian Open here.

Bhullar, who is attempting to make the card for 2012, even as he is playing select events on the Tour, moved to seven-under 137 and shared the lead Robert Coles (65), Joost Luiten (70) and Thomas Norret (70) after the second round.

All the four are looking for their first win on the European Tour. Interestingly Jeev Milkha Singh won the same tournament in 2008.

The 23-year-old Bhullar, who finished ninth at Czech Open, is still not a full member of the European Tour.

"Even before the round I was very confident because I knew that I was hitting the ball very well," he said.

"In the last few weeks, I have been driving it great and today I putted and chipped well which is what I have been waiting for. I just felt so positive before the round today and you saw that on the first nine," he explained.

Bhullar, winner of a European Challenge Tour event in India earlier this year, began on the 10th and went on a birdie-firing spree with six in the first eight holes from 10th to 17th.

Turning in six-under, he made it seven-under on the first, at which point there were visions of a sub-60. He was 10-under for the tournament as he chipped in for another birdie on the first. .

Then suddenly he bogeyed the third and triple-bogeyed the fourth. The recovery with a birdie on the sixth saw him end the day at four-under which kept him in the lead group at seven-under 137.

But a bogey at the third was followed by a triple bogey seven at the next and he needed a birdie at the sixth to keep pace with the leaders.

European Tour veteran Coles produced the best round of the day, firing a sparkling 65 at the Diamond Country Club.

Coles, whose search for a first European Tour win goes back 15 years and more than 300 events, produced a brilliant seven under par bogey-free round.

Coles came closest to victory at this year's Avantha Masters, where needing a four at the par five closing hole he took four from the edge of the green for a bogey six.

But he had no such problems seeing out his second round here, firing a hat-trick of gains from the sixth -- his 15th -- culminating in a 60-foot birdie putt at the eighth.

He was joined on seven under par first by Luiten, who added a two under 70 to his opening 67.

The quartet are two shots clear of Australia''s Daniel Gaunt, England's Simon Wakefield, Italy's Emanuele Canonica and local amateur Matthias Schwab, who shone with a five-under 67.


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