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Rediff.com  » Sports » Indian golfer Bhullar ends long wait with win in Korea

Indian golfer Bhullar ends long wait with win in Korea

Last updated on: October 02, 2016 16:25 IST

India’s Ganganjeet Bhullar poses with the trophy after his win at the Shinhan Donghae Open in Incheon, South Korea on Sunday, for his sixth title on the Asian Tour

IMAGE: India’s Ganganjeet Bhullar poses with the trophy after his win at the Shinhan Donghae Open in Incheon, South Korea on Sunday, for his sixth title on the Asian Tour. Photograph: PTI

Ganganjeet Bhullar ended a long trophy drought with a one-stroke victory at the Shinhan Donghae Open in South Korea on Sunday for his sixth title on the Asian Tour.

The 28-year-old, who last won in 2013, carded a final round four-under-par 67 for a tournament total of 15-under 269 at the Bear's Best Cheongna Golf Club in Incheon.

Tour rookie Scott Vincent (69) of Zimbabwe and local favourite Kim Tae-woo (71) finished a stroke behind.

Bhullar carded four birdies in five holes after making the turn in 34 and it took him to the top of the leaderboard at 17-under, with a four-shot advantage.

But bogeys on the 16th and 17th holes halted his victory charge and Bhullar had to wait nervously to see if Vincent and Kim, playing in the final group, would force a playoff.

"I knew I was leading by four shots and somehow 16 was one of the toughest holes and I had to keep the ball in play and try to make a par at least," he said.

"But I made a bogey there after hitting the water. Despite those two bogeys, I was still mentally strong and I knew that nobody was going to stop me from winning today."

Australia's Scott Hend finished tied for fourth with Sweden's Malcolm Kokocinski to increase his lead at the top of the Asian Tour's Order of Merit.

Bhullar began the day on a positive note with a birdie on the second. However, a bogey on the fourth brought him back to level-par for the day. He then gathered momentum with consecutive birdies on the sixth and seventh, the latter being a 15-feet conversion.

Bhullar stepped on the accelerator with birdies on the 10th, 12th, 13th and 14th holes. The strapping six-footer was in prime putting form as he sank a 30-footer on the 10th and two more putts from 12 to 15 feet on the 13th and 14th. He unleashed a terrific tee shot on the par-3 12th which set up a three-feet birdie conversion.

Bhullar had a momentary scare when he bogeyed the 16th and 17th but a par on the closing 18th turned out to be good enough to seal the title as Vincent couldn't birdie the last to take the match into a playoff even as it drizzled at the Bears Best Cheongna Golf Club.

"I had no idea that I was leading by three after the 15th. That's when I looked at the leaderboard for the first time today. When I realized that I was ahead by three, it gave me confidence and I thought I was playing well and I just needed to continue to focus and stick to my routine," said

Bhullar, who became the second Indian to win the Shinhan Donghae Open after Jeev Milkha Singh who won it back in 1994.

"The goal was to make a good start to the day and I achieved that by being two-under through the front-nine. I kept the momentum going thereafter. The birdies on the 10, 12, 13 and 14 were crucial as it could've swung either way on that stretch. I hit most fairways and greens today except for a couple at the end and that was good enough for a win.

"This win means a lot to me. The last time I won was back in 2013. I've gone through one of the lowest phases of my career over the last two seasons when I also suffered a wrist injury. I lost my European Tour card and my winner's status on the Asian Tour in the last two years." 

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