Indian hotshot Gaganjeet Bhullar lifted the Macao Open trophy for the second time in his career after closing with a three-under-par 68 to complete a stunning wire-to-wire victory on Sunday.
The 29-year-old Bhullar fired seven birdies against two bogeys and a double-bogey to win by three shots with a 13-under-par 271 total for his eighth Asian Tour victory at the Macau Golf and Country Club.
Bhullar took home a winner’s prize purse of US$90,000 and became only the third player after Australian Scott Hend (2013 and 2015) and Zhang Lian-wei of China (2001-2002) to win the storied event twice since the tournament was inaugurated in 1998.
Filipino ace Angelo Que battled to a 69 to share second place with Ajeetesh Sandhu of India, who posted a 70, at the US$500,000 Asian Tour event. Chinese Taipei’s Hung Chien-yao took fourth place following a 72 for a 276 total.
India’s Rashid Khan returned with the day’s low round of 64 to grab a share of fifth place on a 278 total alongside American Johannes Veerman, who closed with a 70 in the Macao showpiece.
China’s Lin Yuxin, the only amateur to make the halfway cut, produced the shot of the day when his five-iron from 240 yards found the bottom of the cup for a magical albatross on the par-five 18th hole.
This was the 24th albatross on the Asian Tour and a second at the Macao Open. It was also the first albatross scored by an amateur on the region’s premier Tour.
Did you know?
- Bhullar claimed a wire-to-wire victory for the third time in his career and second time at the Macao Open. He won the 2012 Macao Open and 2013 Indonesia Open after leading from start to finish.
- Bhullar is the first player to win eight titles on the Asian Tour before turning 30. He is also the youngest player to achieve the feat on the Asian Tour.
- With this victory, Bhullar holds the same number of Asian Tour wins with countrymen Arjun Atwal and Jyoti Randhawa. They are the only three Indian players with the most number of wins on the region’s premier Tour.
- Thai legend Thaworn Wiratchant holds the record with 18 victories. Thongchai Jaidee and Prayad Marksaeng sit in second and third places with 13 and 10 wins respectively. England’s Lee Westwood and Australian Scott Hend both recorded nine Asian Tour titles in total.
- Bhullar is the fourth Indian, after S.S.P. Chawrasia, Shiv Kapur and Ajeetesh Sandhu, to win on the Asian Tour this season.
- Bhullar joins Australian Scott Hend and China’s Zhang Lian-wei as two-time winners of the storied Macao Open.
- Que and Sandhu both marked their best result at the Macao Open with their joint runner-up finishes.
- Que, a three-time winner, also marked his best result on the Asian Tour this year.
- Sandhu claimed his breakthrough Asian Tour victory at the Yeangder Tournament Players Championship in Chinese Taipei two weeks ago. He went on to secure a play-off win on the Japan Challenge Tour last week.
Gaganjeet Bhullar (Ind) – Final Round 68 (-3), Total 271 (-13)
I was absolutely blank after the bogey on the first hole. After that I just stuck to my plan and took my opportunities. Honestly it got simple after the bogey. I hit the ball well and made my putts. It was a tough start to the day but the last four days have been really hard. This is probably the only tournament where I’ve played in such windy conditions in all four rounds.
Every time you win wire-to-wire on the Asian Tour, you learn a lot. I want to grow as a player and you learn so much from winning and even losing. I’m glad that this is my eighth Asian Tour title and I’ve got so many more events to play on the Asian Tour. The next goal is to start thinking and preparing on the next victory.
I started working with my coach, Noah Montgomery, in the summer and we’ve been working really hard on my game. He changed a few technical aspects in my swing and that’s really helped me. Overall the attitude and my point of view towards the game and winning have changed. It has been my childhood dream to win the Order of Merit.
I’ve seen my heroes Arjun (Atwal), Jyoti (Randhawa) and Jeev (Milkha Singh) win the Order of Merit. I would love to do the same and the goal for the rest of the season is to play like how I’m playing and stay in the positive mood.
Angelo Que (Phi) – Final Round 68 (-3), Total 274 (-10)
It was good. I didn’t make any bogeys and it is always good not to make mistakes in the final round. Unfortunately, I could have made more birdies but I only made two. It was still a good week for me, finishing second is a good result. The conditions were the same but I think the pressure of trying to win gets to you. It has been a good week for me. I’ve always enjoyed playing here so I’m glad I came back here after missing this event for two years.
Ajeetesh Sandhu (Ind) – Final Round 70 (-1), Total 274 (-10)
I would have taken this result at the start of the week. Gaganjeet Bhullar played really today so I’m happy with the result. It has been a good week and it was especially nice to play in the last group in the last two days. It was tense but I’m happy with the way it went. I started off pretty well but missed a few chances in the middle of the round. That pretty much threw me off the game. I was playing catch-up after that but all in all a good round and week. I’m playing really well and I want to continue what I’m doing.
Scores after round 4 of the Macao Open being played at the par 71, 6606 Yards Macau GcC course (am – denotes amateur):
271 – Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) 64-65-74-68.
274 – Angelo QUE (PHI) 67-67-71-69, Ajeetesh SANDHU (IND) 66-67-71-70.
276 – HUNG Chien-yao (TPE) 67-72-65-72.
278 – Rashid KHAN (IND) 70-70-74-64, Johannes VEERMAN (USA) 69-70-69-70.
280 – Miguel TABUENA (PHI) 71-72-67-70, Wolmer MURILLO (VEN) 67-72-66-75.
281 – Suttijet KOORATANAPISAN (THA) 74-67-72-68, Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 70-67-74-70, Jbe KRUGER (RSA) 69-71-71-70.
282 – Natipong SRITHONG (THA) 68-74-72-68, Gareth PADDISON (NZL) 70-69-73-70, Pavit TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA) 72-70-67-73.
283 – Scott BARR (AUS) 71-69-74-69, Dimitrios PAPADATOS (AUS) 73-70-70-70, Jake HIGGINBOTTOM (AUS) 74-71-67-71, Giwhan KIM (KOR) 64-70-74-75.
284 – Nicholas FUNG (MAS) 72-73-70-69, Chiragh KUMAR (IND) 70-71-73-70, Nitithorn THIPPONG (THA) 71-70-76-67, Keith HORNE (RSA) 73-70-69-72, John CATLIN (USA) 69-70-71-74.
285 – LIN Wen-tang (TPE) 76-67-72-70, Shubhankar SHARMA (IND) 69-68-77-71, Suradit YONGCHAROENCHAI (THA) 71-70-75-69, Yikeun CHANG (KOR) 64-76-76-69, Steve LEWTON (ENG) 72-71-71-71, Daniel CHOPRA (SWE) 70-72-72-71, Ryan MCCORMICK (USA) 69-71-71-74, Arie IRAWAN (MAS) 69-70-70-76.
286 – Marcus BOTH (AUS) 71-73-72-70.