Gold Coast, Nov 30 (PTI) Indian golfer Gaganjeet Bhullar squandered a superb start to turn in a two-under 70 to lie tied 8th at the halfway stage of the Australian PGA Championship here.Also Read - UK Releases New Travel Advisory, Mandates 10-Day Quarantine For Fully Vaccinated Indians

Bhullar fired three birdies on the front nine, but he gave away much of those gains on the journey home on the back nine. However, his card was good enough to see him rise two places. Also Read - International Flights: UK Relaxes Travel Restrictions For Fully Vaccinated Indians From Oct 4

The Indian had two birdies on 12th and 15th on back nine, but bogeys on 10th, 14th and 18th pulled him back. Also Read - Good News: UK Likely to Relax Travel Guidelines For Indians Including RT-PCR Test, Quarantine Rules From Oct 1

Bhullar had his breakthrough win on the European Tour at Fiji International last year and is looking to consolidate his position early in the season with a start in Australia as it counts towards European season for 2019.

Defending champion Cameron Smith carded a brilliant 65 on day two to take a one-shot lead into the weekend at RACV Royal Pines Resort.

The home favourite is looking to become the first player to successfully defend the title since Robert Allenby in 2001 and he was nine under at the top of a leaderboard dominated by Australians.

Marc Leishman and Jake McLeod led the chasing pack, one shot clear of countrymen Matt Jager, Dimitrios Papadatos and Christopher Wood.

Smith made seven birdies in his first ten holes and while McLeod opened up a two-shot lead on the back nine, a late stumble handed the initiative back to Smith.

American Harold Varner III – the 2016 champion – was at six under, a shot clear of Bhullar, England’s Andrew Johnston, and Australians David Bransdon, Paul Hayden and Anthony Quayle.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.