Indian Ganganjeet Bhullar returned to the winner’s circle for the first time since 2013 when he powered his way to victory with a final round four-under-par 67 at the Shinhan Donghae Open.
Asian Tour rookie Scott Vincent of Zimbabwe closed with a 69 to finish tied for second with Korean Kim Tae-wooat the KRW 1.2 billion (about US$1 million) event.
Australian Scott Hend increased his lead atop the Asian Tour Order of Merit by signing off with a 68 take a share of fourth place with Swede Malcolm Kokocinski.
With rain falling relentlessly on the Bear’s Best Cheongna Golf Club, Bhullar kept his composure by reaching the turn in 34 after three birdies and one bogey.
Four birdies in his next five holes after the turn saw Bhullar reach the top of the leaderboard at 17-under, with a commanding four-shot advantage.
His charge towards victory was, however, stalled when he bogeyed 16 and 17. But he parred 18 for a four-day total of 15-under 269 and then had to endure a nervous wait as Vincent and Kim, who were playing in the last group, still had the opportunity to force a play-off.
“I knew I was leading by four shots and somehow 16 was one of the toughest holes and I had to keep the ball in play and try to make a par at least.
“But I made a bogey there after hitting the water. Despite those two bogeys, I was still mentally strong and I knew that nobody was going to stop me from winning today,” said Bhullar.
Bhullar’s thoughts proved prophetic as Kim and Vincent were unable to extend the tournament into extra-time.
Vincent, a Qualifying School graduate, could not contain his delight after securing the best finish of his professional career to date.
“I didn’t really know what I was coming into at the start of the week. I just wanted to come here to play,” said Vincent, who posted rounds of 69, 64, 68 and 69.
Hend was left to wait for his 10th Asian Tour title after a double-bogey on the par-three 12 put paid to his hopes.
“I read about the forecast yesterday and I knew it was going to be difficult at some point in time during the day. And it came along at the time when I made a double on the par-three, which probably cost me the tournament,” said Hend.