Gaganjeet Bhullar holes maiden European Tour title

 Gaganjeet Bhullar Fiji International

FIJI: India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar withstood intense pressure by producing one of the best shots of the week on the 17th hole which would eventually seal his ninth Asian Tour win at the Fiji International presented by Fiji Airways on Sunday.

Staring at yet another bridesmaid finish this season, the Indian showed he would not be cowed under pressure as he holed a monstrous chip from outside the green for an eagle-three, ultimately closing his fourth round on 66 (-6).

That eagle provided him with some relief as he would head into the last hole with a one-shot advantage over Australia’s Anthony Quayle, who had earlier broken the course record with his nine-under-par 63 at the Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course.

Bhullar hit his approach shot straight onto the green on 18 and left his birdie putt just short of the hole. An easy tap-in for par for a winning total of 14-under-par 274 would soon confirm the 30-year-old as the newest winner of the Fiji International. 

Australia’s Anthony Quayle, who started the day two shots back of Bhullar, mounted a late challenge when he stormed home with three birdies and two eagles in his back-nine. 

However, it was still not enough to catch Bhullar on a day when the Indian showed great composure and mental courage.

Major winner Ernie Els of South Africa also staged a late comeback by closing with a 65 to share third place with New Zealand’s Ben Campbell at the Fiji International presented by Fiji Airways, which is being tri-sanctioned by the Asian Tour, European Tour and ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia again.

Prior to his latest victory at the Fiji International, Bhullar had five top-10s, which included two runner-up finishes at the Maekyung Open and Queen’s Cup in Korea and Thailand respectively.

With his ninth Asian Tour victory, Bhullar holds the most number of wins by an Indian golfer on the Asian Tour.

Bhullar said: "This kind of good form was definitely building up from last, I would say, two months, I had two good finishes. In fact, more than two, but two runner up finishes on the Asian Tour. I've been playing really well. It was just a matter of time and I'm glad it happened on this stage."