Bhullar holds commanding 7-shot lead through three rounds at Indonesian Masters
LIV Golf Promotions event scheduled for December 8th-10th at Abu Dhabi Golf Club
JAKARTA, Indonesia – The final round of the BNI Indonesian Masters presented by TNE at Royale Jakarta Golf Club is a last-chance saloon for the final standings on The International Series Order of Merit, and a priceless spot in the LIV Golf Promotions event at the iconic Abu Dhabi Golf Club on December 8th-10th.
Runaway tournament leader Gaganjeet Bhullar has all but confirmed his place in the top eight, as he is projected to leap from 46th to eighth with victory, securing automatic qualification into round two for the innovative three-day event in the UAE.
But there is still plenty of drama on the cards on day four in Jakarta, with a number of hopefuls still in with a shout for the 25 positions from nine down that would clinch a place in the first round of the potentially life-changing event.
Promising young Australian Jack Thompson had little more than an outside hope until a T11 in the Volvo China Open two weeks ago, and he did his slim chances no harm on day three in Jakarta with a blemish free seven-under 64, moving to T6 for the tournament.
With 18 to play, the 25-year-old is projected to claim one of the final spots in the standings - not bad for someone who had missed the cut last week at the Hong Kong Open, and was struggling with a 24-hour virus on day one.
Thompson said: “Everything clicked today. The main thing was to stay patient, try not to get frustrated and I holed a few towards the end to keep things going.
“I have thought about it (LIV Golf Qualifying) for sure, I was 40th in Hong Kong but missed the cut and dropped to 48, so yes, it is definitely something I am thinking about - I know what I have got to do, and I have to work back from there.”
With Cam Smith leading an all-Australian Rippers GC team last term, and Asian Tour stalwart Wade Ormsby participating in the first year on LIV Golf, there has been a strong contingent from Down Under, and Thompson admits it would be nice to join the gang.
“It is a wonderful opportunity for Asian Tour players to have four rounds to potentially play on LIV, so it would be great to secure a place. I haven’t spoken to the guys too much but I have been thinking about it. They are all great guys and as long as you are willing to listen, they will share information. I’ve still got a bit to go, I’m a long way off yet but The International Series offers a great opportunity, and it is exciting.”
Indian Karandeep Kochhar is another who has made a wonderful late surge. Following up from a T5 in the Volvo China Open and a T25 at the Hong Kong Open, he’s also sitting T6 going into the final round after carding seven birdies and just the one dropped shot.
Kochhar said: “To be brutally honest, the Promotions event wasn’t on my mind as I was outside the places, and I was trying to secure my Asian Tour card for the season. But on Sunday in China, I shot eight under to finish top 5, and that week kickstarted this stretch. I’m playing on the confidence of that single round and that has really helped me because I’m playing stress free.
“It wasn’t a goal of mine, but yesterday I will admit I did go on the Asian Tour website to check where I am and where the guys behind me are! It definitely got in my mind today, but it had to get in sometime.
“I’m not going to stress too much about it, I just have to play another good round of golf and see how we finish. It is a great opportunity for Asian Tour players to get on to the LIV Golf which is arguably one of the best tours in the world right now. Really looking forward to it.”
Kochhar has been getting the inside line from someone with real knowledge of the LIV Golf scene; Indian golfing great Anirban Lahiri is also playing in Jakarta this week and the Crushers GC star chatted about life on LIV over a special Kochhar family celebration.
“My parents had flown in this week, and for dad’s 50th we had dinner at my apartment and Anirban was there, telling stories about LIV Golf, it sounded great and hopefully we can have a couple more Indians there and increase our presence on there.”
Photo Credit: Asian Tour