Bhullar lifts Macao Open trophy for the second time
Macau, Oct 22 (PTI) Indian golfer Gaganjeet Bhullar romped home to a three-shot victory at the Macao Open to bag his eighth Asian Tour title here today.
As a result, Bhullar etched his name on the Macao Open trophy for the second time having previously won the event in 2012.
Bhullar (64-65-74-68) was unstoppable on the final day of the USD 500,000 event as he brought in a card of three-under- 68 to end up with a winning total of 13-under-271.
Among other Indians in fray, Ajeetesh Sandhu (66-67-71- 70), fresh from his twin triumphs in Taiwan and Japan over the last two weeks, delivered a last round of one-under-70 to grab a share of second place at 10-under-274 and make it two Indians in the top-3.
Sandhu shared the runner-up spot with Angelo Que (69) of the Philippines.
Bhullar, the overnight leader by one shot, put behind the disappointment of an ordinary third round effort of three- over-74 as he bounced back in round four with seven birdies at the cost of two bogeys and a double-bogey.
Bhullar started the day with a bogey to concede his outright lead and slip into the joint lead along with compatriot Sandhu. But he then rallied with six birdies over the next 12 holes to build a healthy five-shot lead to all but run away with the title.
Thereafter, Bhullar's subsequent bogey and double-bogey on the 14th and 16th couldn't stop him from marching to his first Asian Tour title in about a year. He finally registered a three-stroke victory margin thanks to his birdie on the closing 18th.
The strapping 29-year-old from Kapurthala in Punjab has now equalled Arjun Atwal and Jyoti Randhawa’s record of most wins (8) by an Indian on the Asian Tour.
It was also Bhullar’s third wire-to-wire victory of his career following the Macao Open 2012 and the Indonesia Open 2013. Bhullar had last tasted international success just about a year back at the Asian Tour’s Bank BRI-JCB Indonesia Open 2016.
Bhullar now has nine international wins to his credit including one on the European Challenge Tour. Interestingly, it was the third time that an Indian won the Macao Open. Besides Bhullar having won it in 2012, Anirban Lahiri had also won it in 2014.
Sandhu, who was overnight tied second, one off the lead, had an encouraging start to the day when he sank two birdies on the first four holes. The the joint leader early in the day, he soon slipped out of contention after a string of bogeys on the seventh, 10th and 14th.
He however managed to finish joint second after a late flourish which saw him birdie the 16th and 18th.
Rashid Khan shot a stunning final round of seven-under- 64, the day’s best, to climb 19 places to tied fifth at six- under-278. His presence in tied fifth made it three Indians in the top-6 this week.
Chiragh Kumar of India also finished inside the top-20. He was tied 19th at even-par-284. Shubhankar Sharma was a further stroke back in tied 24th.
S Chikkarangappa was 33rd at three-over-287, Himmat Rai was tied 58th at eight-over-292, Khalin Joshi was tied 66th at 10-over-294 and M Dharma was 70th at 18-over-302