Bhullar wins in style

Jha fires six-under 66 to finish in second place

Gaganjeet Bhullar (left), winner of the Players Championship, and amateur  titlist Abhishek Jha pose with their trophies at the Eagleton Golf Resort on Saturday. DH photo

Basking in the form of his life, Bhullar carded a three-under 69 for a third consecutive day at the Eagleton Golf Resort to clinch his fourth PGTI title of the season, finishing at 13-under 275. While Bhullar celebrated  Independence Day in style by moving to the top of the Order of Merit List, another youngster too made sure the spotlight was trained on him with a repeat of his first-round heroics.

Bangalore-based 21-year-old Abhishek Jha, playing as an amateur, fired another sizzling six-under 66 at his home course -- equalling his own best single-round score of the tournament -- to finish in second place, three strokes behind Bhullar, and taking the amateur crown. However, with prize money being awarded only to professionals, Kolkata’s Raju Ali Mollah took the runner-up cheque when he returned a level-par card for an overall eight-under 280.

Overnight rain and an overcast sky combined to make for pleasant weather, conditions ideal for golfing, and Bhullar used them to their fullest.

He opened the day brightly with a birdie on the second hole with a four-foot putt before picking up another stroke on the par-5 fourth with another four-footer.

The experience of playing a Major and many Asian PGA events seems to have served a perfect learning platform for the youngster, who read the greens closely on the first three days. He put that knowledge to good use on a course where he has triumphed five times earlier as a junior and amateur.

Another birdie on the seventh gave Bhullar a commanding four-stroke lead at the turn and with hardly any challenge forthcoming, the title was pretty much decided by then. Although he dropped a stroke on the 15th hole where he hit his second shot wide of the fairway, the others kept committing errors of their own.

Jha fired an astonishing eight birdies but was hurt by two bogeys.

Leading scores (after 72 holes): 275: Gaganjeet Bhullar (68, 69, 69, 69); 278: Abhishek Jha (A) (66, 73, 73, 66); 280: Raju Ali Mollah (70, 67, 71, 72); 281: Anura Rohana (67, 71, 71, 72); 282: Ashok Kumar (69, 73, 70, 70); 283: Digvijay Singh (71, 68, 74, 70), Vikrant Chopra (72, 71, 68, 72); 285: Om Prakash Chouhan (74, 69, 72, 70), Ali Sher (66, 72, 71, 76).

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