India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar completed a commanding start-to-finish victory at the Venetian Macau Open golf yesterday, closing with a three-under-par 68 to secure his fourth Asian Tour title.
The 24-year-old, who won the Yeangder Tournament Players Championship in Taipei last month, held off a combined challenges from American Jonathan Moore and Thai youngster Thitiphun Chuayprakong.
Moore finished two shots back in second place after a 65 while Chuayprakong closed with a 70 to share third place with Bangladeshi Siddikur (66).
Bhullar, 24, was in control with an outward 31 to lead by three shots but bogeys on 10 and 13 opened the door for his rivals. A pumped-up Moore raced home with five closing birdies to apply the pressure but Bhullar responded well.
He drained a six-foot par putt on 17 to hold on to a slender one-shot lead into the last hole and then delivered a grandstand finish with a 12-foot birdie to become the first Indian winner of the Venetian Macau Open.
“This is going to take a long time to sink in. I hit the ball so good. I was just in the perfect zone. More than that, it was self-belief. This is my first wire-to-wire Asian Tour title.
“I think it was more that I had to prove to myself that I’m a good front runner. I had to believe in myself. I did it and it was
really special,” said Bhullar, who earned $118,875 for his fourth Asian Tour victory.
Bhullar, who had his country’s leading amateur golfer Ashbeer Saini as his caddie, was flawless on the front nine with birdies on two, three, five and seven as he kept his foot on the pedal.
“I thought I was going to play relaxed in the last few holes. But Jonathan played really well. He holed a long putt on 17 — I saw that. I had a good tee shot, missed on the left but the first putt, I hit it over the hole. Trust me, it wasn’t an easy putt (coming back). I had to visualize the ball going into the hole a few times and that’s what I did. I think the putt on 17 was the putt of the tournament.
“The whole week, I just struck the ball really well. Mentally, I was focused and I was in the zone. I knew I would win it easily,” said Bhullar.