Gaganjeet Bhullar wins maiden Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational title

Bhullar (69-65-68-71) edged past his rival on his final putt, sinking a sensational 10-footer birdie to walk away with the winner’s cheque with an overall score of 15-under 273.

FILE PHOTO: Gaganjeet Bhullar of India playing a shot during the third round of the Sarawak Championship golf tournament at the Damai Golf and Country Club in Kuching in Malaysia on July 6, 2018. 

FILE PHOTO: Gaganjeet Bhullar of India playing a shot during the third round of the Sarawak Championship golf tournament at the Damai Golf and Country Club in Kuching in Malaysia on July 6, 2018.  | Photo Credit: AFP

Bhullar (69-65-68-71) edged past his rival on his final putt, sinking a sensational 10-footer birdie to walk away with the winner’s cheque with an overall score of 15-under 273.

Gaganjeet Bhullar pulled off a stellar performance in the final round with one-under 71 to win his first-ever Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational golf tournament title here on Sunday.

Bhullar (69-65-68-71), who was tied at the top with local player Karandeep Kocchar till the 18th hole, edged past his rival on his final putt, sinking a sensational 10-footer birdie to walk away with the winner’s cheque with an overall score of 15-under 273.

The 2020 champion Kocchar (65-70-68-71) of Chandigarh finished as the runner-up with an overall score of 14-under 274 in the Rs 1.5 crore tournament presented by TAKE at the Chandigarh Golf Club.

The 2018 winner Chikkarangappa S (65-71-67-72) and Chandigarh’s Akshay Sharma (69-68-71-67) finished at tied third with identical overall scores of 13-under 275.

Bhullar had a bumpy start on Sunday, bogeying twice on the front nine as birdies eluded him.

However, his back nine got him some breathing space with back-to-back birdies on the 11th and 12th holes before hitting a roadblock with another bogey on the 15th hole where he missed a short putt.

A birdie immediately after got him back into contention and the 10-time Asian Tour winner did not let this opportunity slip by as he converted his final shot on the 18th -- a 12-footer birdie putt to win his maiden Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational in style.

He broke the tradition of this tournament -- entering a playoff in its last four editions.

“I played my back nine like a champion today. I did have a shaky start, but my past experience as a golfer and my knowledge of this course together came in handy today," Bhullar said.

"I kept telling myself to not go for the result but play one shot at a time and I think that worked things my way. The birdie on 11th, my first today was probably the turning point in my round. My second birdie on the 16th got me motivated for the final two holes.

"My experience of the course helped me visualize my shots on the final hole in advance and that's why sinking in the 12-footer in the final shot was not difficult.” Kochhar, who missed his birdie-putt on the 18th, finished as the runner-up for the second time, his first being in 2018. Kochhar, who too shot a 71 on Sunday, made three birdies on the second, 16th and 17th and two bogeys on the third and 10th holes.

Kochhar moved up six spots to be placed fourth on the TATA Steel PGTI Order of Merit.

Om Prakash Chouhan, who shot the day’s best round of six-under 66, finished at tied fifth with Bangladesh golfer Jamal Hossain and Delhi’s Shamim Khan with identical totals of 12-under 276. Seasoned golfer Rahil Gangjee finished eighth with an overall score of 11-under 277, while Chandigarh’s Amrit Lal and Abhijit Singh Chadha along with Delhi’s Rashid Khan and Bengaluru golfer Khalin Joshi ended at tied ninth with an overall score of 10-under 278.

Among the other prominent names, Olympian Udayan Mane finished T-13 at 9-under 279, veteran golfer Jyoti Randhawa finished T-20 at 6-under 282 and former winner Ajeetesh Sandhu of Chandigarh ended at T-28 at 4-under 284 and continues to lead the TATA Steel PGTI Order of Merit.

The Tata Steel Professional Golf Tour of India now travels to Pune for the Pune Open 2022 which will be played at the Poona Club Golf Course from October 19-22.

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