Bhullar closes in on Aiken

3/17/2013 6:56:00 AM
Gaganjeet Bhullar   (Getty Images)
Gaganjeet Bhullar (Getty Images)
Gaganjeet Bhullar came flying out of the blocks to challenge Thomas Aiken at the top of the Avantha Masters leaderboard as the final round got underway.

The Indian, who won a Challenge Tour event on home soil two years ago, birdied the first from 20 feet, splashed out a bunker to two feet at the next and holed a 25 footer at the third for an opening hat-trick of birdies.

After a par at the fourth, Bhullar drove the green at the 356 yard par four fifth and eagled to be five under through five holes and 17 under par.

South Africa’s Aiken, who led by three overnight on 18 under, also saw Chinese playing partner Liang Wen-chong close in with birdies at the second and fourth to join Bhullar on 17 under.

The 29 year old from Johannesburg, who won the 2011 Open de España, holed a six footer at the second to reach 19 under and remain two clear.

Aiken knocked in an eight footer at the fifth to go to 20 under, and when Bhullar bogeyed the eighth and Liang double-crossed his tee shot right into bushes at the sixth, took a penalty drop, and eventually three-putted for a double bogey the South African was four ahead.

However, as quickly as Liang’s title chances looked to have evaporated they reignited with an eight iron hole-in-one at the short seventh which halved the deficit to two.