Taehoon Ok and Bhullar. Pics: Paul Lakatos/ Asian Tour
August 21: Gaganjeet Bhullar turned in yet another fine round and one more superb result as he carded 4-under 67 and finished Tied-fifth in the International Series Korea at Lotte Skyhill Country Club on Jeju Island.
Bhullar, who began the week with a modest 1-over 72 has shot excellent rounds of 65-69-67 since then to finish 11-under for the week.
Things did not pan out too well for the other Indians as Veer Ahlawat, despite a final round of 68 finished T-29th, SSP Chawrasia (71) was T-51st, Rashid Khan (72) was T-62nd and Shiv Kapur (72) was T-68th.
“It was quite tough today actually, because the last few days, the golf course has been really soft. It didn’t rain the last three – four days, so today the back nine greens started getting a little firm,” said Bhullar, who was victorious at the Mandiri Indonesian Open for a record third time this month.
“It was very difficult to adapt, we have been coming from last few days when the conditions were totally soft, and then suddenly on Sunday afternoon back nine, you know, everything turns out to be a little firm. So, there was a bit of adjustment in that, but I think overall I played pretty well the last three rounds.”
Yet Bhullar played steady and parred the first 10 holes before finding back-to-back birdies on 11th and 12th and added a third on 15th. He dropped a shot on 17th but birdied the Par-5 18th for a 67 and tied for fifth with Korean Wang Jeunghun (67), who is coming back after National Service in the Army.
It has been a nice run for Bhullar, who three weeks ago won in Indonesia for his 10th Asian Tour win, then finished T-31st in Singapore last week and was fifth here in Korea this week.
Young Korean star Taehoon Ok knocked home a clutch five-foot birdie putt on the last to beat his better fancied compatriot Bio Kim by one shot.
It was a tight battle down the final stretch as Ok carded three-under-par 68, for a tournament total of 15 under par. Bio also came in with a 68 but ended at 14-under. American Trevor Simsby fired a 67 for sole possession of third, one stroke further back.
It was the first professional win in five years for Ok, who started the day with a one-shot advantage. But after making three birdies in a row from the 11th he had a two-shot lead and appeared in control.
Moments after he missed 15-foot par putt on the par-three 17th, Bio, playing in the group ahead, holed a six-foot birdie putt on 18 to tie the lead on 14 under.
Ok responded by hitting a masterful third shot close in before confidently holing out for a victory, which also earned him a cheque for US$270,000.
Korean Yunseok Gang came in with a 66, to finish fourth, while India’s Bhullar, carded a 67, to take fifth.
Wooyoung Cho, the country’s top amateur who fired a stunning 61 on day three, signed off with a 72 to tie for seventh.
The Asian Tour travels to Japan next for The 38th Shinhan Donghae Open, being played at Koma Country Club from September 8-11. It will mark the first time the prestigious Korean event has been played in Japan.
Bhullar drops late shots but is still T-10 in Korea
In-form Veer Ahlawat moves to fifth, Bhullar 11th in Korea