Bhullar ends four-year Indian title drought in Asia
Golfer Gaganjeet Bhullar produced one of the best rounds of his career when he needed it most to end India’s four-year long title drought on the Asian Tour.
Bhullar shot a superb 7-under 65 to be 20-under and win the USD 500,000 Mandiri Indonesia Open.
He won the tournament by two shots over countryman Rashid Khan (68) and Steve Lewton (64).
The last Indian win had come at the Panasonic Open by Khalin Joshi in 2018.
It was his 10th Asian Tour win, the most by an Indian as he extended his own record. He also became the first player to win the event three times, following his wins in 2013 and 2016.
“I love this course,” he said about Pondok Indah here.
Bhullar’s has a long-standing love affair with Indonesia. Four of his 10 Asian Tour wins have come here. His first career AT win was also in Indonesia at the Indonesia President Invitational in 2009 and his 10th win has come in the same country.
Rashid started the day in lead with Thailand’s Atiruj Winaicharoenchai but Bhullar was in irresistible form, making three birdies on the front, and four on the back. It included three on the trot from the 13th.
Lewton had four birdies in the last seven holes, including on 17th and 18th. But he fell two short.
Among other Indians Ajeetesh Sandhu (68) was T-19, Shiv Kapur (70) was T-27, Karandeep Kochhar (70) and Veer Ahlawat (74) were T-37, M Dharma (73) was T-45, S Chikkarangappa (68) and Honey Baisoya (67) were T-50.
Bhullar was all confidence and showed no signs of being without a win since his success in Fiji, which came four years and two days ago on August 5, in 2018. There was no question of nerves.
He holed brilliant birdie putts and made some crucial par saves. Without a trace of arrogance, he said, “I played like a champion tee to green and gave myself so many birdie opportunities.” “I was riding high on confidence, hit the ball really good. It is a great week, I had a lot of positive memories having won this tournament two times before, that was definitely on my subconscious mind. The goal was just to go out there and give my 100 percent.” “This is my first win after becoming a father and I would like to dedicate this win to my 11-month-old daughter.” Rashid also made up ground over the closing holes with four birdies on the homeward stretch having started with nine straight pars.
“It was a little confusing for me the start. I couldn’t make any birdies on the first nine holes, so it was a little difficult for me to come back after that,” Rashid said.
“I had my first birdie on the 10th so I got a little thinking that I can make few more. When I checked the score Bhullar played a really good round today, shot seven under and bogey free.” Bhullar joins an elite group of players who have won a National Open in Asia at least three times. The list includes Peter Thomson, Hong Kong Open and Indian Open; Jyoti Randhawa, Indian Open; Adam Scott, Singapore Open; Jumbo Ozaki and Tommy Nakajima, Japan Open; Lu Liang-Huan, aka ‘Mr Lu’, Philippine Open and Taiwan Open; and Miguel Angel Jimenez, Hong Kong Open.
Bhullar, Lewton and Khan and the rest of the field now head for next week’s International Series Singapore next week at Tanah Merah Country Club.
National shotgun selection trials: Anantjeet Singh Naruka tops men’s skeet
Anantjeet Singh Naruka topped men’s skeet as he beat Bhavtegh Singh Gill 39-38 in the fifth National shotgun selection trials in Jaipur on Sunday.
It was a commendable fare from Anantjeet after he had qualified with a modest total of 117.
The qualification toppers, Olympians Mairaj Ahmad Khan (121) and Angad Vir Singh Bajwa (120) ended up third and fourth respectively after lively competition.
Bhavtegh won the junior silver as well, beaten 38-32 by Abhay Singh Sekhon. In the women’s section, former national champion Maheshwari Chauhan was in irrepressible form, as she beat Areeba Khan 36-35, after a strong performance in the semifinals and an impressive 120 in qualification.
Raiza Dhillon beat Darshna Rathore to the bronze medal. Darshna climbed to the silver behind Areeba Khan in the junior section, while Parinaaz Dhaliwal took the bronze.
World Junior Tennis Finals: Indian girls lose to Tunisia
The Indian girls missed their chances and got beaten 2-1 by Tunisia in the fight to avoid the last spot in the World Junior under-14 Tennis Finals in Prostejov, Czech Republic.
After going up 1-0 as Sara Attig retired after nine games against Sai Janvi, the Indian team was in the driver’s seat. Aishwarya Jadhav was up 40-0 at 4-4 in the third set before losing the match to Lamiss Housas.
In the doubles, the Indian pair of Aishwarya and Sohini held two match points at 9-7 in the super tie-break but lost the next four points.
Host Czech Republic beat Germany for the gold, while US won the bronze, beating Slovakia.
In the boys event, Switzerland beat Germany for the gold, and US beat Kazakhstan for the bronze.
Bopanna loses semifinals
Rohan Bopanna and Matwe Middelkoop got beaten 7-5, 6-3 by fourth seeds Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek in the doubles semifinals of the $2,108,110 ATP tennis tournament in Washington.
The Indo-Dutch pair won 180 ATP points and $32,370.
In the Challenger in Lexington, US, second seeds Yuki Bhambri and Saketh Myneni won the doubles title, beating Gijs Brouwer and Aidan McHugh 3-6, 6-4, [10-8] in the final.
The title, sixth this season for the pair and fourth in Challengers, was worth 80 ATP points and $3,100.
In the $25,000 ITF women’s event in Rio, Riya Bhatia’s fine run was halted in the singles semifinals and doubles final.