Macau crown for Bhullar

Indian bags 2nd Asian Tour title in less than a month

 Gaganjeet Bhullar rode out a blip in the middle of the final round to card a solid three-under 68 and clinch the Venetian Macau Open title, his second Asian Tour title in less than a month, here on Sunday.

Bhullar, who had friend and one of India’s leading amateurs Ashbeer Saini on the bag, finished with a birdie to sign off at 16-under 268, two shots clear of American Jonathan Moore, who had five birdies in his last five holes.

Making it sweeter for India was Shiv Kapur, who carded a four-under 67 to total 10-under and finish sole fifth.

Himmat Rai (70) was 38th at one-under 283 and Ajeetesh Sandhu (73) was one-over 285 in 47th place. Moore (65) finished second, while Thitiphun Chuay­prakong (70) of Thailand and Siddikur (66) of Bangladesh were tied third.

Bhullar had four birdies in his first seven holes and seemed to be cruising to another superb win when he found bogeys on the 10th and 13th holes. But he pulled himself back from that with steady par, a missed birdie putt and finally a solid birdie on 18th to close with a 68.

Even as a pumped-up Moore raced home with five closing birdies to put pressure, Bhullar responded like a true champion and drained a six-foot par putt on the 17th to hold on to a two-shot lead into the last hole. He then delivered a grandstand finish with a 12-foot birdie to become the first Indian winner of the 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,” said Bhullar, who earned $118,875 for his fourth Asian Tour victory. “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,” he added.

This is Bhullar’s fourth Asian Tour title, following wins in 2009 Indonesia President Invitational, the 2010 Asian Tour International, Thailand and the 2012 Yeangder Tournament Players’ Championship, Chinese Taipei.

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