Maybank Championship: Bhullar placed tied-18th

Apart from Bhullar, the only other Indian to survive the 36-hole cut was Rahil Gangjee (72) were the only Indians to survive the halfway cut.

Gaganjeet Bhullar had a nightmarish start from the 10th as he bogeyed his first three holes in a row.   -  V.V. Subrahmanyam

Gaganjeet Bhullar staged a great comeback from a disastrous start and then endured a roller-coaster of a round to card even par 71 and stay with Top-20 at the midway stage of inaugural US$3 million Maybank Championship here today.

Apart from Bhullar, the only other Indian to survive the 36-hole cut was Rahil Gangjee (72) were the only Indians to survive the halfway cut.

Bhullar (67-71) was Tied-18th while Gangjee (68-72) was tied-39th. At the top, the 24-year-old Nathan Holman of Australia produced a solid six-under-par 65 for a two-shot halfway lead at Royal Selangor Golf Club.

SSP Chawrasia (73-71), Jeev Milkha Singh (76-69), Chiragh Kumar (74-72), Rashid Khan (73-73), Himmat Rai (75-72), Arjun Atwal (76-71) and Shiv Kapur (81-71) made an early exit.

Holman rolled in seven birdies to double up his overnight lead with a 13-under-par 129 aggregate ahead of Richard Bland of England, who also shot a 65,

Filipino rising star Miguel Tabuena, Korean youngster Soomin Lee, Spaniard Jorge Campillo and world number 13 Danny Willett of England are equal third on 134, five shots back.

Bhullar was the pick of the Indians. But, the 27-year-old Indian, winner of five titles on Asian Tour, had a nightmarish start from the 10th as he bogeyed his first three holes in a row. Bhullar hit back with birdies on 13th and 14th, only to lose those again on 16th and 18th. He turned in three-over and at that stage, he was one-over for the tournament and on the cut-line.

He hauled himself back again with birdies on first, third, sixth and eighth and then disappointingly closed with a bogey on ninth.

Gangjee had three birdies and four bogeys as he made his fourth successive cut this season, despite being unwell at times.

Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand and Australian Marcus Fraser were tied-seventh after shooting identical 69s in the prestigious event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.

Holman, the reigning Australian PGA Championship winner, birdied all the par fives at Royal Selangor for the second consecutive day to stay in the hunt for a second victory since his European Tour breakthrough on home soil last December.

“After winning at home, my next aim was to win a tournament overseas, so it’s great to have the chance to tick that one off the list so soon. Then looking further ahead, getting into the top-100 in the World Ranking is a realistic aim,” said Holman.

Slightly-built Tabuena remained on the leaderboard despite still suffering from the effects of food poisoning. He shot three birdies against no bogeys to give himself a chance of winning a second title since his career breakthrough win at the Philippine Open in December.

The cut was set at one-under-par 141 with a total of 70 players qualifying for the weekend rounds.