Golfer Bhullar finishes 5th at Indonesian Masters

Jakarta, Oct 9 (IANS) Indias Gaganjeet Bhullar fired five-under-par 67 in the final round to finish fifth at the Indonesian Masters golf tournament here on Sunday.

Bhullar, who won his sixth Asian Tour title last week, finished with a total of 12-under-par 276 at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club.

He ended his campaign six shots behind the champion, Poom Saksansin of Thailand, who also fired a 67 on the final day to win his first Asian Tour title with a total of 18-under-par 270.

Saksansin cruised to a comfortable five-shot victory and Thai teenagers Phachara Khongwatmai (68) and Suradit Yongcharoenchai (68) — both aged 17 — and Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura (70) had to settle for the tied second place at the $750,000 Asian Tour event.

The 28-year-old Bhullar, meanwhile, found 14 fairways and 18 greens in regulation but was let down by a cold putter where he negotiated the greens in 31 putts.

“A 62 was definitely out there. I’m pretty happy the way I played after winning last week. This course is one of my favourites on the Asian Tour,” the Indian said after his round.

“I played well for three days. Today was in the first in a long time that I hit 14 fairways and 18 greens. I’m glad that I was in contention during the week. There’s a lot of positives I can take out from the last two weeks,” he added.

S. Chikkarangappa, the other Indian in the fray, also scored 67 in the final round to finish joint sixth with a total of 277. Lee Chieh-Po of Taipei was also at the joint sixth spot with a final round of 68.

“I’m happy with how I finished. I must take the result however it comes. I’m playing really solid. Sometimes luck is not on your side but it doesn’t mean that I should be disappointed with that. I’m happy with how I’m playing,” Chikkarangappa said.

“I learnt how to play in the tough conditions. Now I’m used to it so when there is a rain delay no matter what, I will make sure it doesn’t distract me. I’ll stay focussed and not blame the weather. I can take out a lot of positives from this week.”

Saksansin held a two-shot lead at the start of the day and stayed ahead of the chasing pack by shooting six birdies against one bogey.

The 23-year-old, who won his first Asian Development Tour (ADT) title in Malaysia last year, showed no signs of nerves when he made the turn in 34 shots before tightening his grip on the pole position with three straight birdies on holes 10, 11 and 12.

Dropping only two shots in 72 holes, Saksansin played solid golf throughout the week and stayed calm under pressure when a host of players briefly threatened his lead early in the round.

“It feels great to be a champion. I just tried not to make bogeys today. Anything in the red numbers was good enough for me. Honestly, I was only hoping to make enough money to keep my Asian Tour card. This victory exceeded my expectations,” he said.

“I didn’t get into trouble in the first place so that’s why I only dropped two shots this week. My putting really saved me as well. My family will be very happy that I won, it also proves that I can play among the best players.”

The victory earned him $135,000 which moved him from 101st to 21st position on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.



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