This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.
Fiji International: wins first European Tour title
Gaganjeet Bhullar held off a charging Anthony Quayle to claim his first European Tour title at the $970,000 Fiji International presented by Fiji Airways. The Indian entered the final day at Natadola Bay Golf Club with a one-shot lead but found himself trailing late in the day as Australian Quayle came home in 29 and set the target at 13 under in the clubhouse.
A brilliant chip-in eagle on the 17th moved Bhullar back into the lead and he held his nerve to par the last and sign for a 66 that gave him a oneshot victory over Quayle, who finished with a brilliant 63.
Four-time Major Championship winner Ernie Els signed for a closing 65 to finish at 12 under alongside New Zealander Ben Campbell.
Bhullar was playing his 106th European Tour event this week and is now exempt until the end of next season after adding to his Challenge Tour win in 2011 and eight Asian Tour victories. Bhullar’s triumph is the third Indian victory of the season after Shubhankar Sharma’s double, and 16th Indian win in European Tour history. “I’ve been playing really well,” he said. “It was just a matter of time and I’m glad it happened on this stage, really happy to be back on the European Tour.”
Ajeetesh Sandhu took a share of 43rd place at twoover-290 after a one-under-71.
Bhullar also credited course designer and threetime Major winner Fijian legend Vijay Singh for helping him with some advice on the course and how to handle it the previous night. “I spoke to him and he offered me some advice and that kind of inspired me. I am very thankful to him as I look up to him a lot,” said Bhullar.
The drama was relentless and after Quayle got a fortunate bounce out of a bunker off the tee on the 17th, he put his second to ten feet for another eagle and was in the lead. Bhullar produced his spectacular chip-in on the 17th and two perfect shots into the final green set up a closing par. “That was pretty awesome out there,” said Quayle. “I got to play with Ernie and played a pretty awesome back nine there.”
1 His first European Tour victory in his 106th appearance
6 Becomes the sixth Indian winner in European Tour history, joining Jeev Milkha Singh, SSP Chawrasia, Arjun Atwal, Anirban Lahiri and Shubhankar, claiming the country’s 16th victory and extending India’s winning run to four seasons
9 Holds the most wins by an Indian golfer on the Asian Tour with nine trophies
163 Bhullar’s world ranking before this victory which will now see an improvement. Moves to 133rd on the Race to Dubai rankings on 199,900 points, up from 214th
3 The third win by an Indian player this season after Shubhankar Sharma’s victories (Joburg Open, Maybank Championship)
I PLAYED TWO FULL SEASONS BACK IN 2013 AND 2014 ON THE EUROPEAN TOUR AND THEN I HAD TO COME BACK TO THE ASIAN TOUR BECAUSE OF MY INJURY. SO I THINK THIS VICTORY IS REALLY EMOTIONAL FOR ME IN TERMS OF PLAYING OPPORTUNITY AND GETTING BACK ON THE EUROPEAN SOIL.”