Gaganjeet Bhullar loses playoff to finish second in Maekyung Open golf
Gaganjeet Bhullar was edged out in a four-way playoff for the Maekyung Open Golf Championship as Korea’s Sanghyun Park won the event for the second time in three years with a par at the third playoff hole in Seongnam on Sunday.
Park, who won the event in 2016, had to go the extra distance to lift his sixth professional title after he carded an even-par-71 in the final round to force his way into a play-off with compatriots Yikeun Chang (69), Junggon Hwang (70) and Bhullar (70).
Bhullar said, “I gave my 100 percent and I played really well especially the last 36 holes. I played steady and gave myself opportunities today. I hit the ball 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.”
It was Bhullar’s best result since his win in Macao last October. He is the first Asian to win eight times before the age of 30.
Another Indian Ajeetesh Sandhu (72) was unable to find a birdie in the last seven holes which would have got him into a play-off. With the top four finishing at one-under par, Sandhu finished at even par 284 and was Tied-5th. Shiv Kapur (76) was T-29, while S Chikkarangappa (74) was T-55 and Arjun Atwal (75) was T-67.
Bhullar threatened to break the dominance of the Koreans at the GS Caltex Maekyung Open Golf Championship which has not had a foreign winner since American Mark Calcavecchia emerged victorious in 2004.
Bhullar, who had bogeys on second and fourth, fought back with birdies on sixth, ninth, 13th and 14th against a bogey on 10th. As he parred the last three holes he ended in a tie.
But the man who must be ruing his final hole error was Junggon Hwang, who seemed to have sewn it up as he came 3-under for the day and 3-under for the tournament when he came to 18th tee. But he double bogeyed and fell into a tie for play-off and lost it.
Bhullar, however, was the first player to bow out of the four-man playoff 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 belonged to Park when Chang was left with an uphill task to sink a 15-foor par putt, which he missed, while Park made no mistake when his turn came at the Namseoul Country Club.
Park became the fourth Korean player after KT Kim, Sangho Choi and Namshin Park to have won the GS Caltex Maekyung Open Golf Championship twice.
When Park won the event in 2016, it was also in a playoff against compatriot Soomin Lee.