Bhullar lands a closing eagle for 5-shot win; Kochhar second in Indonesia

Gaganjeet Bhullar with BNI Indonesia Masters Trophy

Jakarta, Nov 19: Gaganjeet Bhullar closed an amazing week with a brilliant eagle putt from 20 feet on the 18th to win his 11th Asian Tour title and deliver an incredible fifth win in Indonesia.

Bhullar dropped two bogeys during the day in his card of 67 at the BNI Indonesia Masters that also had four birdies and the eagle from 20 feet was the icing on the cake. He finished with 63-67-63-67 for 24-under 260 total and won $ 270,000 for his efforts. He moved to fourth on the Order of Merit.

His five-shot win at the BNI Indonesia Masters was also the biggest of his international career and finishing second behind him was fellow countryman Karandeep Kochhar who had a bogey-free 63 on the final day.

It was also the first win in the International Series for any Indian. The last win for any Indian on the Asian Tour was 15 months ago, also in Indonesia by Bhullar, who revealed that his mother was born in Indonesia.

After playing steady through the week, he said, “It wasn’t that easy. This is my fourth Asian Tour wire-to-wire. And this was a victory with a seven-shot lead (after three rounds) and I just kept telling myself I have done that in the past and I am ready to do that this week.”

His other wire-to-wire wins came in the Macao Open in 2012 and 2017 and at the 2013 Indonesia Open.

He added, “Today I played pretty well actually. I struggled a bit in the middle of the round, there was a stretch when I was trying my level best but I was not making the birdies but the chip in on number 16 turned around everything. And, of course the eagle on the last was the icing on the cake.”

Beginning the final day with a seven-shot lead, Bhullar was never in danger despite a brilliant charge by Kochhar, who was nine behind at the start and finished five back by the end.

Making it a great week for India were Veer Ahlawat (69) in Tied-seventh at 14-under, while S Chikkarangappa (68) was 12-under at 12-under. Rashid Khan (68) was T-36 at 8-under, Anirban Lahiri (72) at 5-over was 67th and Honey Baisoya (79) was T-68.

Bhullar ensured there were no hiccups early in his round as he birdied the third and the sixth. A dropped shot on the ninth did not mean much as he got it back on 11th. A second dropped shot on 15th was quickly repaired with a birdie on the 16th. He closed with an eagle on the 18th.

“I have been doing meditation since I was 14 years old, and I think this is my 17th year on Tour. I learned over the years how to deal with the pressure and especially the conditions and the situation I was in the last three rounds. So, I think the past experience has really helped me.”

Kochhar had a brilliant front nine with five birdies on the third and fourth, followed by another on sixth and two more on eighth and ninth for a 5-under 30. On the back nine he had three more birdies for a superb 63, a card that was twice achieved by Bhullar this week on the first and third days and bettered only once by David Puig on the third day.

Ben Campbell (65) and David Puig (66) despite fine final round efforts never really posed a challenge for the rock-solid Bhullar.

Amazingly, in four of Bhullar’s last five wins, fellow Indians have either been sole second or tied second.

At the 2016 Indonesia Open Jeev Milkha Singh was among the four players tied at second, in the 2017 Macao Open Ajeetesh Sandhu was tied second, while Rashid Khan was tied second at the 2022 Mandiri Indonesia Open. In Bhullar’s latest win, Kochhar was sole second.

An added bonus for Bhullar was that his victory catapulted him from 46th place on The International Series Order of Merit to eighth, and it’s only those from second to eight who are fast tracked into the second round of the LIV Golf Promotions event in three weeks in Abu Dhabi.  The top three finishers there will earn places in next year’s LIV Golf League.

Kochhar was pleased with his showing, and said, “Obviously a very good day from start to finish. I told myself that the way I was hitting the ball the last few days I’m going to have a lot of opportunities, so it was all about being patient.”

The win carried Bhullar into fourth place on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, while Kochhar is the next best Indian at 19th. With the next event $ 400,000 Taiwan Glass Taifong Open, scheduled from November 30 to December 3, the other Indians well placed on Order of Merit are S Chikkarangappa is 21st, Anirban Lahiri, who is assured of the LIV starts, is 26th, Rashid Khan is 36th and Veer Ahlawat moved up to 55th.


Vinkmag ad

Read Previous

Wallace birdies the entire back nine in his round 60 to rise to the top at DP World Tour Champs  

Read Next

Avani finishes 13th and Diksha is 31st in Mallorca Ladies Open

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *