Sentosa : India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar underlined his potential as one of the hottest young stars in the region as he won the International Final Qualifying – Asia. The 20-year-old carded a four-under-par 67 Wednesday.
Bhullar’s total of six-under 136 ensured that he will join Jeev Milkha Singh at the British Open Turnberry, Scotland July.
He finished two shots ahead of China’s Liang Wen-chong who fired a sparkling 66 to secure his second appearance while Australia’s Terry Pilkadaris had to endure a nervous wait before learning that he had also earned a ticket to the world’s oldest Major with his 72 on the second round.
Shiv Kapur shot a one-under 70 and ended one-under 141 and one shot off the last qualifier Tim Stewart who went through a play-off at 140, where he was tied with eight others.
Stewart meanwhile had to survive a gripping play-off to earn the last of the four tickets at stake after nine players were tied at two-under at the Sentosa Golf Club’s Serapong course.
Bhullar, who played the round of his life last year in Cambodia to grab the 60th and last full card for 2009, did the same again. He once again played a brilliant round in a crunch situation.
Starting the day in tied-eighth and four shots off the lead, Bhullar played with a plan to make it to Scotland.
“I actually set a target of five-under for today, although I managed to finish in four-under. But it’s okay. I’m really happy now that I’m on my way to the British Open,” said a visibly delighted Bhullar, who last week was second at the SAIL open in India.
The 20-year-old year Indian from Kapurthala has posted three top-10s in the six events that he has played on the Asian Tour so far and credited his sports psychologist for helping to turn his game around.
“I played really well today and it’s all thanks to Dr. Pradeep Aggarwal who has helped me a lot in improving my mental strength. Without his teachings, I doubt I would have gone this far,” said Bhullar, who enjoyed a blemish free round highlighted by four birdies.
“I have been watching the British Open since I was a kid and getting to play there is truly a dream come true,” added Bhullar.
Liang, the first mainland Chinese to play in all four rounds at the Open last year is also delighted with the chance to return again.
“I played really well today. My tee shots and putts were all spot-on and I couldn’t ask for a better performance,” said Liang who mixed his card with an eagle on the par-four with three birdies.
“I hope to continue playing well and hopefully put Asia on the world map with a good showing in July,” added Liang who was Asia’s number one in 2007.