Seongnam, Korea, 06 May 2018

Gaganjeet Bhullar secures joint runner-up finish in Korea after losing out in four-way playoff

Ajeetesh Sandhu finishes tied fifth

India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar put up a valiant performance in the final round of the GS Caltex Maekyung Open Golf Championship in Korea to finish joint runner-up. Bhullar, who returned a last round of one-under-70, lost out in a four-way playoff at the Namseoul Country Club on Sunday.

Gaganjeet (72-70-71-70) compiled a four-day total of one-under-283 to be joint first on the leaderboard at the end of the regulation 72 holes along with the Korean trio of Sanghyun Park, Yikeun Chang and Junggon Hwang.

The leading quartet headed into the playoff even as Bhullar threatened to break the dominance of the Koreans at the tournament which had not welcomed a foreign winner since American Mark Calcavecchia in 2004.

The Indian, looking to become the first Indian player to win a record nine titles on the Asian Tour, was however the first player to bow out from the four-man play-off at the first hole.

He conceded the hole after he knew his best effort could only be a bogey while the Koreans had easy par putt chances. Hwang was next to fall out of contention after he carded a bogey while Park and Chang birdied.

Victory soon belonged to Park when Chang was left with an uphill task of sinking a 15-foot par putt which he missed while Park made no mistake on his par putt from inside 10 feet at the third play-off hole.

Earlier in the day, Gaganjeet, who had previously won in Korea at the Shinhan Donghae Open in 2016, mixed four birdies with three bogeys to move up four spots from his overnight tied fifth place to joint first.

Bhullar said, “I gave my 100% and I played really well especially on the last 36 holes. I played really steady and gave myself opportunities today. I hit the ball really well and gave myself lots of good looks out on the course. But I would like to congratulate Park as he’s a deserving winner.”

Ajeetesh Sandhu (67-71-74-72), who was tied second and one off the lead after round three, finally closed the week in tied fifth at even-par-284 after a last round of one-over-72. He made a birdie and two bogeys in his final round.

Among the other Indians, Shiv Kapur finished tied 29th at seven-over-291, Chikkarangappa was tied 55th at 12-over-296 and Arjun Atwal was tied 67th at 15-over-299.

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